Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
“Victoria Crossing” is the story of Victoria MacPherson, a young Irishwoman who emigrates to the U.S. during the potato famine. After losing all of her family, she embarks solo on the arduous journey across the sea. On the way she meets Maeve, whose mother has died on the ship. Maeve is traveling on the hope that her brother will meet her in New York. When the promised brother is not there the girls are forced to make their own way in a city that is openly discriminatory against its Irish immigrants. But Victoria is driven to succeed in spite of all her setbacks. After being robbed of what little money she had on her arrival, the girls find themselves in a rat-infested tenement, but they quickly pick up sewing jobs and Victoria soon has dreams of owning her own shop. Along the way the make friends and enemies, who deliberately try to destroy them, and learn the ways of business. When Maeve’s brother finally appears the girls are encouraged, but tragedy soon strikes. Will this determined girl be able to start over and achieve her dream? Or, will the city beat her down?
I really enjoyed this story. I especially like the way the author was able to point up not only the difficulties and discrimination that the Irish faced when arriving in the U.S., but the conflict within the Irish community between the Catholics and the Protestants. Victoria and Maeve are very well developed as characters in the story. After reading the story I felt like I had a greater understanding of the impact of the famine and the political conflicts on the rank and file of the Irish citizenry. I also really enjoyed the author’s portrayal of the city of New York at the time. The rapid growth it was experiencing made for many opportunities for success but there was also treachery lurking not too far beneath the surface which made for very satisfying dramatic moments. Overall, this is a very enjoyable read especially for lovers of historical fiction.
Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!
Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.