Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Photo by John Hensel
Lilybit’s Review of Grace’s Pictures by Cindy Thomson - 4 Paws Up!
Would you believe Mom was on errands all day and she just got home and opened the laptop for me? It's that whole lack of opposable thumbs thing that makes writing difficult. And she thinks I'm cranky the last couple of days. Why wouldn't I be when thwarted from my important writing task? Thus the moody looking picture.

Anyway, one of our favorite reads this past summer was Grace's Pictures. It starts a little sad, because Grace McCaffery had to leave her mother behind in Ireland to come to America all by herself. She is shy and doesn’t have much confidence at the beginning, but she remembers her mother’s encouraging words. She's not without hope. Mrs. Hawkins takes her in at a charity boardinghouse for young immigrant girls. Grace meets colorful and interesting characters throughout the book.

She has to make choices to grow and become stronger as she becomes a nanny and saves her money, so she can buy a brownie camera, an innovative invention for the time. She also wants to use it to earn extra money to bring her mother to America. Then the real adventure begins. Grace accidentally takes pictures of members of some of New York City gangsters and they aren’t too happy about it.

Police officer Owen McNulty wants to help Grace, but she doesn’t trust him, because of how she’d been treated by law enforcement back in Ireland. But through her experiences, Grace has to make decisions about the faith her mother has attempted to pass on and the need to forgive.

With realistic characters and rich historical detail, Mrs. Thomson weaves a poignant story that touches your heart. It gives human readers a feel for some of what their ancestors could have gone through when they came here. (At least that’s what my mom tells me. The ancestors of today’s domestic cats were considered royalty in Egypt!) 

Mom and I look forward to the next Ellis Island novel by Cindy Thomson. Four paws up!

Leave a comment by 8:00 PM ET Saturday evening for a chance to win a copy of Grace’s Pictures.


  1. My Irish immigrant ancestors were the Gordons and hailed from County Cork. I think they arrived pre-Ellis Island. I'd have to check my paperwork to be sure. They were some of the last to come over. My family - almost all of it - has been here since the mid-1600s. That's why I always check "other" on forms that want to know my ethnicity and I write in "American." I'm sure it irritates the poor data entry person who has to deal with it... but, oh well! :)

    Thanks for the chance to win the book, it sounds like a good one.
    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Pegg,
      Glad you stopped by the blog today. I stumbled upon information
      that my ancestors from Ireland actually had settled and farmed in Canada before coming to the United States. You never know what
      you'll find.