In my continuing effort to immerse myself in all things Cleveland / Shaker / Ohio, I chose this book about a mother and daughter who are forced to flee Naples and end up in Cleveland around the turn of the 20th century. Schoenwaldt has clearly done her research, and the story, in broad strokes, is fine. Lost in all of her efforts to convey authenticity, Schoenwaldt neglected to create character or detail or whatever it is that can make a good idea into a great book. There’s no heart here, no real connection with character or situation. And the prose is functional at best. Perhaps the book’s lack of spark is because all of the characters are so obviously in the book for their one sole purpose. There’s no depth to be found.

All in all, a perfectly blah experience.

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