Author: Cindy Thomson
Review by Grace Olson
The U.S.A. has often been called a mixing pot because of the fact that many of our ancestors are immigrants. In fact, if you’re not of Native American descent, then you are probably an implant yourself. Many of our ancestors who came to this land of opportunity came through Ellis Island. It’s a place that is very familiar in immigrant history. Grace’s Pictures is a novel that follows the life of a young lady from Ireland who comes through Ellis Island looking for what many of our ancestors were searching for: a chance to get ahead.
Taken from the back of Grace’s Pictures:
“Listen to me,” her mother had said. “I don’t care what lies your father once spoke to you, darlin’…Remember this instead: You are smart. You are important. You are able.”
Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader.
A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.
This book was a slower pace than I prefered. The first 100 pages kind of dragged, especially since the incident that sets the gangsters on Grace’s trail does not happen until after those 100 pages or so. I also found that “love”, the endearment Mrs. Hawkins often bestows on Grace was rather distracting in its frequency. Despite these issues, I really liked the character of Officer Owen. He is such a hero. He struggles with knowing what to do, as he is torn between the job he chose, and what his parents expect him to do. A champion for the lower class, this character is upstanding, and perseveres, even when it gets tough, and I admired him for that.
One of the main issues that Grace had to sort through were the “negative voices of her past”. Left-over emotional abuse from her father plays a large role in the book. It’s so sad how Grace thinks herself less-than others because of the words her father flung at her as a child, but I love how she fights against these feelings of worthlessness and realizes that she is a strong, capable individual.
I would not call this story a romance, despite expecting it to be one for most of the story.
Grace must learn throughout the story to trust God. She has trouble trusting any men because of her past and her father, and she believes that she is not good enough for God to pay any attention to her. But as she struggles with this issue of trust, not everyone is as deserving of that trust as they seem. In a world of dishonest cops and threatening gangsters, Grace must learn to discern who to trust before she gets into serious trouble.
Biography from Tyndale House Publisher’s website. Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page: http://cindythomson.blogspot.com/
Grace’s Pictures was a good read with several redeemable qualities, but I just couldn’t stay interested in it for long because of the slow pacing.
I was given a free copy of Grace’s Pictures from Tyndale House Publishers for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review.
Grace’s Pictures is available in download or paper copy.
To read an author Q&A with Cindy Thomson, click on this link: http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/downloads/press_kits/gracepicauthorQ&a.pdf
To read an excerpt from Chapter One, click on this link: http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-6843-6.pdf