"If a book is engaging from the first page, it’s a sign of a very good writer. Paula Rose Michelson is an excellent writer, so she gets the readers interested in the fate of her main character from the very first line. As soon as I read, “Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island,” I was hooked. I knew I was in for a treat. And then the story got even better.
For fifteen-year-old Naomi, Ellis Island truly becomes “the last hope,” but that hope comes at a price. The seemingly nice woman who agrees to sponsor Naomi’s application to stay in the US quickly becomes more of a hostage taker than a helper. At least that’s what Naomi thinks at first. Later, she realizes that she has just entered into a business arrangement that will shape her life in ways she has never expected.
Naomi’s story is heartfelt and heart-breaking. In her native Spain, she had to “live in the shadows” and pretend to be Catholic to avoid persecution for her Jewish faith. She comes to America in hopes of gaining more freedom, but at first it seems that she gets loneliness and an overwhelming sensation of guilt instead of that freedom. Naomi’s life journey involves loss, adaptation to the new world, a quick coming of age, marriage, and a sudden flood of opportunities that promise a brighter future, including the hope to get reacquainted with her faith and the Jewish way of life.
There’s so much to love and admire about this book. It is engaging from the first to the last page, it is beautifully written, and meticulously researched. The research section that details the plight of Jewish people in Spain has more research than one could ever expect in a novel, and that information is highly appreciated and needed. With authentic detail and a sincere narrator’s voice, Naomi’s story comes to life on the pages of Paula Rose Michelson’s wonderful book. Highly recommended." http://amzn.to/1tN7hEp