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  • Fantasitic novel about American history

    Both Russian born Rosie and Italian born Maria come to American in 1909 to live the American dream. Instead they are both working in horrible conditions in shirtwaist factories. Eventually Rosie is fed up and joins the union, headed by the fiery Clara. Maria, angry at all men after being jilted by her boyfriend at home, joins the picket line and is promptly arrested with Rosie and sent to a workhouse for five days. Maria comes back determined to be a voice for the Union and the girls who are treated badly by the men who run the factories. Together Rosie and Maria fight to get better hours and pay for all the women in the union. But when they finally return to work it is to the ill-fated Triangle Shirtwaist Factory just in time for it to become one of the deadliest fires in American history. Armed now with pain and loss, the girls who survive continue to fight for the union, but is the American dream truly work it, or should they just go home? This book was well researched and so engaging. I fell in love with both Rosie and Maria's stories. As a lover of history, getting to go through Ellis Island with them, become factory girls, unionize, and go through such a horrific historical event was unbelievable. Heather Wardell is a wonderful writer and I will be seeking out more of her books. *I was provided an ARC by Netgalley and the publisher for my honest review.

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  • Friendship and Fire

    FIERY GIRLS by Heather Wardell Fiery Girls is based upon a true story of the Triangle Fire in New York City, it was a shirtwaist factory. The story follows the dual narration of Rosie, a Jewish girl from Russia, and Maria, a Catholic girl from Italy. Maria's older brother Vincente also has come to America, so that they both can work and send money home to help support their parents. Rosie's parents want her to only work for a Jewish-owned factory. Maria has a secret goal of paying for the passage of the young man that she loves, so they both can live in America and be together. Maria becomes involved in the Local 25 Union for the poor employees of the garment factories because the owners don't care about their employees and most of the employees are women and girls, who are paid at a much lower rate than the men are. On the day of the fire, some people are able to run for safety, but many are unable to escape. Trapped in a burning building, being burned alive, or feeling forced to jump from the ninth floor to the ground below. Of all of the employees who jumped, no one survived. The fire is in the Asch Building, which is still standing today. The building was touted as unburnable, which it was, but everything and everyone inside it burned. This is quite a sad time in American history, when factory owners don't care about their workers, with little to no penalty for causing over 100 deaths of innocent workers. I'm very thankful there are rules and regulations, and yes unions to protect the workers. The suffrage movement helped the women get equal pay for equal time but the unions are instrumental in protecting the workers, in making sure they are taken care of while they are in the workplace. The book has some dramatic moments because what happened in the Triangle Fire is not a rosy picture. Highly recommend. Much gratitude to #netgalley for the complimentary copy of #fierygirls I was under no obligation to post a review.

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