About the Book:
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 summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when 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 and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.
Present day: On her 18th 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. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?
Available Here: Amazon
Two Women, Two Stories, Two Destinies, One Blood
This was my first book by Mary Hogan and, after reading the blurb, I was rather intrigued. I occasionally like to dig into stories without romance or suspense--I'm eclectic like that.
This story was chronicle of two different women across two different generations. They're both dealing with what life throws at them with grace and a heaping helping of learned lessons.
The beginning was a little slow, but I stuck with it and was rewarded with an engrossing tale that left me with a happy feeling.
Elizabeth Haberlin: This young woman is living the life of the upper crust as the daughter of a doctor to Pittsburgh industry titans like Carnegie and Frick. She only knows a life of privilege but was blessed with a mind of her own, which she uses to make herself stand out from the tittering frilly sheep-debutantes who make up her social circle.
After a terrible tragedy that could've been prevented, her eyes are opened to how the life of privilege has left so many of the elite complete blind to the lives and needs of the working class. I was pleased by Elizabeth's personal journey, and I enjoyed following her life through the cushy bedroom or her lakeside cottage to the rubble strewn catastrophe zone where her life actually chanced for the better.
I also LOVED how the author incorporated the life and legacy of The Red Cross founder, Clara Barton. It added depth to the historical part of the chronicle.
Lee Parker: This young woman wakes up on a moldy couch and a clammy pillow. It's the day before her 18th birthday and she can't help but think back to the life she lead before she lived in the cramped pool house of her mother's employer. She's excited, though, because tomorrow she gets to visit the state adoption services office and find out a few details that could unlock the truth behind her closed adoption.
Throughout her journey, she discovers that a woman from her lineage was so much like her that they even shared a name. I thoroughly enjoyed following Lee through the years and library resource aisles, and finally to her familial destination.
The one complaint I have about the story is that Lee has kind of a rude attitude regarding her biological family. She doesn't show understanding or curiosity or any soft emotions for the people who were her blood. And, because her family wasn't at fault for the things that happened in her life, I was expecting a LITTLE bit of warmth toward her family.
I don't know. I was raised by my birth mother, so I can't possible understand what Lee was going through. But the author made Lee out to be a mean-spirited person, and I don't think that was what she was trying to accomplish.
Overall, the story is great. I recommend it highly!