Author: Esther M. Friesner
Genre: Teen Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group
ISBN-13 Book: 9781101445389
Source: Purchased E-Book from BN.com. This is my honest review!
Threads and Flames by Esther M. Friesner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After just barely surviving a deathly illness in her small Polish shtetl, thirteen year-old Raisa travels alone to America to find her older sister in 1910 New York City. When she arrives and can find no trace of her sister, Raisa finds a job to pay rent for herself and the young orphan, Brina, she took in during the voyage to the States. Despite the daily mind numbing work and despair over her lost sister, she begins to make a new life in her new home with friends and even love. But when a small spark ignites the scraps of fabric in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where she works, and tragedy strikes, Raisa’s life may be changed forever.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of this tragedy where 146 out of 500 workers perished in the fire. In recent years there have been several works based on this tragic story including Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Uprising and Mary Jane Auch’s Ashes of Roses among others. While I was familiar with the events of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, this was the first work of fiction that I had read on the topic and I admit that I am pleasantly surprised at how well Friesner did adapting her story to the historical events.
At first I had difficulty getting into this novel. While the detail in this story is exquisite, it had a tendency to bog the story down making the pacing of the story a bit on the slow side. In the end, though, that detail is the saving grace of this novel. It invests you in the lives of the characters and will keep you reading, wanting to know what events lead Raisa to the tragic events of the fire.
The characters in this novel are amazingly well developed and very believable. They envelope you in their stories and their hardships. You find yourself cheering for their triumphs and tearing up at their sorrows and setbacks.
My only complaint about this novel was the predictability and the amazing number of coincidences that strain the reader’s credulity. Because this novel is based on historical events, you do know some of what was going to happen, but I didn’t expect to be able to predict the outcomes for many of the various characters. It almost seems that there was too much foreshadowing leading up to the closing events of the novel.
Overall this is a touching and well written read. Despite my criticisms I did enjoy the book and love the characters. The novel was little hard to get into in the beginning, but worth sticking with to get to the end.
View all my reviews