223 Orchard Street
by Renee Ryan
Published by Waterfall Press
Publication Date April 30, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: New York Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
A heartening novel of the immigrant experience—and of redemption, self-sacrifice, and the power of hope when all else seems lost.
Irish immigrant Katie O’Connor and her younger sister, Shannon, risk everything to journey to America at the turn of the twentieth century. As each woman passes into an intimidating, stirring, and unpredictable New York City, she is forced to rethink her dream of a better life. It isn’t until Katie begins serving the sick in the depressed slums of the Bowery alongside Dr. Titus Brentwood that she discovers her true calling. Meanwhile, fate directs the vulnerable Shannon down an unsettling path that could put her life at risk.
As Katie’s and Ty’s selflessness and devotion turn into something deeper, Ty must make a choice that could save one O’Connor sister at the expense of losing the other. But Katie hasn’t come this far to let go now. She’ll do anything to save Shannon and hold on to the man she’s come to love.
I would like to thank Netgalley, Renee Ryan for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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Katie O’Connor is such a kind and caring woman! She embodies the concept of self-sacrifice and doesn’t even realize it. I love the way she was compelled to care for those around her and her deep desire to serve the hurting people around her.
Titus, known as Ty to his friends, carries so much guilt and pain. I hurt for him as he grieved over what he considered to be his biggest mistake and did his best to “atone” for it by serving at a medical clinic in the slums of New York. His tender heart and need to protect and rescue made him so endearing.
Author Renee Ryan did such a beautiful job of making the life of the Irish immigrants at the turn of the last century come to life, highlighting the hardships, and yet infusing it with hope. I really appreciated the fact that she didn’t give easy solutions to the problems, but still had things work out well. In many ways her book did with prose what Ty’s brother did with photographs.
The medical aspects of the book fascinated me. She explained the processes without making them gory and gave insight into the state of medicine at that time. I had never even wondered when doctors started performing Cesarean births, and now I know more.
This was a lovely story. If you enjoy historical fiction, do yourself a favor and read it.