Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Swimming in the Moon
by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Lucia D'Angelo's voice is nothing like her mother's. She's no nightingale with the gorgeous tones, tender and passionate, peaking and plummeting as dramatically as her moods. Yet in the rough world she's chosen, Lucia's words may truly change lives.

In 1904, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her young mother Teresa are servants in a count's lush villa on the Bay of Naples. Between scrubbing floors and polishing silver, Teresa soothes the unhappy countess with song until one morning's calamity hurls mother and daughter to America, exchanging their gilded cage for icy winds off Lake Erie and Cleveland's taut immigrant neighborhoods. Lucia blossoms and Teresa wins fleeting fame on the tawdry stage of vaudeville until old demons threaten their new life. In factories and workhouses, Lucia finds her own stage, giving voice to those who have given her a home. As roles reverse, mother and daughter reshape their fierce and primal bond.

Kritters Thoughts:  Lucia is a young girl living in Naples and through an interesting incident must move to America to start a new life.  With her mother they end up through a family connection in Cleveland, OH and must start from scratch to build a life.  Unfortunately, there are issues and speed bumps around every turn and Lucia ends up growing up real fast and is quite an adult at a young age.

I loved and felt horrible for Lucia at the same time.  I felt like her story really picked up when they arrived in America.  I loved seeing how the different races were interacting and they were definitely trying to create a social order.  Seeing our country at its earliest roots in some place other than New York was different and interesting.  The attention to social issues was unique with the concentration on the garment industry and the rise of unions and strikes - I enjoyed reading the glimpse into this part of history.  

Although I am a fan and love some good historical fiction, the pacing in this book was quite slow in the beginning, which made it hard to get into and get connected to the characters.  Once they were in America, I felt like the story picked up, but it took quite a bit to get there.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


  1. I felt the same way about the story not really starting until they arrived in America. While I didn't think this was one of the best books I read this year, it was good enough for me to recommend to others.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one once you got into it. Thanks for being on the tour.

  3. The slower pace of the opening was something I loved! :) I agree that it really picked up once they were in Cleveland. Enjoyed your review!


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