Source: TLC Book Tours
Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 337 (paperback)
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Lucia D'Angelo's voice is nothing like her mother's. She's no nightingale with the gorgeous tones, tender and passionate, peaking and plummeting as dramatically as her moods. Yet in the rough world she's chosen, Lucia's words may truly change lives.
In 1904, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her young mother Teresa are servants in a count's lush villa on the Bay of Naples. Between scrubbing floors and polishing silver, Teresa soothes the unhappy countess with song until one morning's calamity hurls mother and daughter to America, exchanging their gilded cage for icy winds off Lake Erie and Cleveland's taut immigrant neighborhoods. Lucia blossoms and Teresa wins fleeting fame on the tawdry stage of vaudeville until old demons threaten their new life. In factories and workhouses, Lucia finds her own stage, giving voice to those who have given her a home. As roles reverse, mother and daughter reshape their fierce and primal bond.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It tells a complicated story of relationships while giving insight into immigrant struggles. I felt a got a lens into a part of history that I'd never received before. For me the beginning was a little slow but everything picked up when Lucia and her mother arrived in Cleveland. Though Lucia seemed selfish at times, she was easy to connect with and I felt her worries and fears as if they were my own. There's a romance here but it sneaks up on you and isn't a big part of the story. Descriptions are vivid and the writing is detailed and wonderful. Everything in the story felt so real, I never knew what to expect. I enjoyed many of the other characters. They didn't have a tremendous amount of focus but every page concerning their stories was done so well; each word made an impact and I found myself attached to them as well.
Overall, an interesting historical fiction that tells a different story of immigrant life and grabs you and pulls you in.