2019 Donora, Pennsylvania
Ninety-one-year-old Patryk Rusek hides in his attic, hoping the searchers think he’s escaped. When Lucy finally bursts in, she discovers her beloved grandfather clutching a fat, hand-illustrated, antique book. In it is the story of Donora, the town that shaped America, its people and Patryk himself. Before long, Lucy and her son Owen lose track of their goal to get Grandpa Patryk somewhere “safe” as they’re drawn into the book, back in time, into stories that read like real-life fairytales born of purpose, hard-work, and chance.
1910 Donora, Pennsylvania
In the early dawn of Donora, Pennsylvania, the mills make and shape the steel that builds America. Mary Lancos lives in a home on the hill overlooking town and its mighty Monongahela River. That tiny house bursts with her siblings and boarders. Wind whipping through the walls and windows makes Mary determined to marry well and create a better life.
Shy Pole, Lukasz Musial, arrives in Donora seeking the clear blue skies, green lawns, and better life he’d seen pictured on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill. Life is set on course to achieve the American Dream. All he needs is a wife who believes in him, in his mighty, quiet, strength.
After a series of casual, friendly meetings, fate brings Mary and Lukasz to the river under a snowy, pink moonlit sky and everything changes. Their attraction is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents she and Lukasz must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.
This was such a great read! Couldn’t put it down. The characters were great, gave insight into immigrant traditions, thoughts.55
Engrossing read, clever way to relate a heart-warming story of American immigrants. Reminds me of the fact that out country was built by such and owes its vibrancy to them.35
This book was nearly impossible to put down! Life as an immigrant in the steel towns was not easy. This book is an accurate portrayal of that life. What amazing people built our wonderful country!55
Vivid descriptions of the beginning of the 20th Century with industrialization, the immigrants and the traditions that they carried with them to a new country. Interwoven with a love story.55
Good premise and author followed through with a good story. Interesting characters - we see their personalities grow or wither. There is change and conflict as the story moves forward. Also liked that the story of the Strongman and the Mermaid is a written account in a “family journal” that an old man is retelling his present time family. Looking forward to the next book to see what happens next. For me, a book has to be better than just average to want to read a series.45
The history of events in the steel and coal industry are ugly and raw. I’m thankful you just showed us a small sample in your book. I’m very happy that it had a happy ending for this couple and I look forward to reading the next book. Thanks G45
I couldn’t put the book down! While I don’t usually pick up books this long, the pages slipped away before I knew it. I can’t wait for the next installment of the Donora stories.55