I love visiting San Francisco. It’s one of my favorite cities to explore. One of the main reasons? Alcatraz. It’s a must every time I’m in SF. I also love the movie The Rock (Sean Connery Internet), so it’s safe to say I’m a bit obsessed with the history of this little island. You add that as a piece of the story? A girl simply can’t resist.
From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.
On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter–one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island–has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.
Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.
Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell–and believe–in order to survive.
I loved this book! This story was so much more than Alcatraz (although those parts were fabulous as well!). A majority of the book leads us to what was hinted at in the prologue. From the intriguing beginning to the last page, I was 100% enthralled by this novel. I hated that I’d have to go to work, because don’t they know I need to know what happens with Shan?! A saga spanning decades, with each new chapter and each new year, the characters grew on you more and more. I loved all of them because I grew with them. With all of their changes, their hopes, their choices. It all made for an incredible story. And Shan is my favorite.
From the beginning I adored the family. McMorris paints such a clear picture of life for immigrants in America, New York City, Prohibition and the years that followed. I thought the time frame worked perfectly for the story as well. There’s heartbreak, bad choices, good choices, love, sacrifice and the bond of family that not only captivates, but reminds readers of hope and second chances.
And friends, just when you think you know how things are going to play out…Kristina drops the mic. No lie, I was reading and then out loud to the air said “whattttttttt??????” Man, do I love books that do that!
So yes friends, I highly recommend. This is one of my favorite reads this year.
Have you been to Alcatraz? How about one of your favorite reads so far this year?
(This was a winter pick for She Reads. Thank you to She Reads and Kensington Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)