The Woman in the Photo
by Mary Hogan
Synopsis: (from goodreads)
1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.
Present day: On her eighteenth birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th Century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster.
A really intriguing piece of history is revealed in this story. The society in the 1800's is captured quite nicely delivering a candid look. I found both Elizabeth and Lee admirable characters however there were times that Lee and her life in the present was a distraction from the main story and took a little time to engage me. The addition of Clara Barton was a definite bonus and the re-telling of the tragedy is both gripping and absorbing. Over all a really good story.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.