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The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when the image leads to his big break, the consequences are devastating in ways he never imagined.

Haunted by secrets of her own, secretary Lillian Palmer sees more in the picture than a good story and is soon drawn into the fray. Together, the two set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens—a journey of ambition, love, and the far-reaching effects of our actions.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

What pattern is that?
Pictured with the book in this post is the Marigold Boho Coaster, available for free here on the blog!


Genre(s): Historical Fiction
HB&W Rating: 3.5
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble

This is my second book by this author, the first being The Ways We Hide. It’s based on a real photo and while the time period of the real story are after that of this book, many of the elements are the same. If you’re interested in that, I found this article online.

The pacing of the first half of the book was a bit back and forth. We start off with the heart punch image of the boys holding the sign, some intrigue about the photo being sent to the chief and subsequently being ruined, forcing the need for a new photo, the second photo being the catalyst for the events that follow. Intermixed with this is the backstory and inner thoughts of the characters, which felt a bit flat to me at times, particularly with Ellis. This made it hard for me to relate to them and made the first half of the book drag. Still, the story held my interest and things picked up in the second half of the book considerably.

I really liked the time frame and subject matter that this book focused on. In the time of asylums and children’s homes that were anything but kind and caring places, the adoption of children as free labor on farms or as servants in the household, I would have liked to have seen more of these aspects fleshed out in the story. The brief allusion to them didn’t have the same sort of punch that more detail would have.

This next bit might be a little spoilery, so skip reading this paragraph, maybe. But, I also didn’t understand what the mafia aspect added to the story except to maybe round out another aspect of the time that the different mafias were running rampant in this time period. As far as it effected our characters and storyline, meh, I think the purpose it served could just as easily have been handled using a rich, powerful, banker aspect.

I liked the story, and it pulled at my heartstrings, just maybe not as much as I had hoped. I find that I liked The Ways We Hide quite a bit better, but I did still round this one up on Goodreads to 4 stars.

Until next time,

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