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A century later, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporters Ben Bragdon and Nina Collins set out to interview 103-year-old Ellen for Ben's feature article on the flood. When asked the secret to her longevity, Ellen simply attributes it to "restlessness." As we see, that restlessness is fueled by Ellen's innate belief that her twin sister Mary, who went missing in the flood, is somehow still alive. Her story intrigues Ben, but it haunts Nina, who is determined to help Ellen find her missing half.
Novelist Kathleen George masterfully blends a history of the Johnstown flood into her heartrending tale of twin sisters who have never known the truth about that fateful day in 1889--a day that would send their lives hurtling down different paths. The Johnstown Girls is a remarkable story of perseverance, hard work, and never giving up hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It's also a tribute to the determination and indomitable spirit of the people of Johnstown through one hundred years, three generations, and three different floods.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-02-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Edgar-finalist George (The Odds and six other Richard Christie mysteries) successfully moves to period fiction with this evocative, historically themed whodunit, set in 1989, as the great Johnstown, Pa., flood approaches its centennial. Anticipating a spate of renewed attention, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ben Bragdon visits Johnstown to interview 103-year-old Ellen Emerson, the flood’s last known survivor. Though Ellen’s family was lost in the flood, she has always believed that her twin sister, Mary, somehow survived. George interweaves Ellen’s story with that of Anna Hoffman, who is living in a nursing home in nearby Pittsburgh, along with Ben’s research into the flood and his ambitious young colleague Nina Collins’s pursuit of the missing twin. Ben is also trying to make a clean break from his estranged wife, Amanda, who continues to have feelings for him even as he begins a new relationship with Nina. George offers complex and rewarding storytelling that pays tribute to not only the magnitude of the disastrous flood but also the resilience of Johnstown and its citizens. (Apr.)