Book Review: The Fallen Woman's Daughter


When eight-year-old Nora arrives at the Park Ridge School for Girls in 1932, she is sure there’s been some mistake. She can’t imagine why she and her little sister, Patsy, were torn from their mother only to be subjected to the cruel whims of the house matron, Mrs. Morris. When their mother fails to rescue them week after week—and Mrs. Morris drops hints that their mother may be a “fallen woman”—Nora begins to doubt they will ever see her again.

Nine years prior, at seventeen, Gertie Gufftason runs off with Lorenzo, the barker for the traveling carnival passing through her small coal-mining town in Southern Iowa. Thinking she is embarking on a fantastic adventure, Gertie is bitterly disappointed by the life that follows and is thrown into despair when the State removes their two daughters.

Gertie eventually tracks down her girls at the Park Ridge, but, expecting a warm welcome, she is shocked by Nora’s cool reception. Nora reluctantly returns home with Gertie and Patsy, determined to live a more perfect life than her mother. It is only when she discovers a secret Gertie has kept hidden all these years that Nora begins to fully understand—and forgive—her mother’s tragic choices.

My Review

I have been a fan of Michelle's since the beginning. So, I am familiar with her writing and know she can write. However, can I say that I was blown away by this book. I literally could not stop reading it and stayed up through the night and early morning to finish this book! Michelle, you are an amazing storyteller. 

I was so emotionally invested in Nora, Patsy, and Gertie that I felt their highs and lows with them. Where Patsy and Nora are concerned in regard to their relationship with their mother, I could relate to both women. Patsy being upbeat and connecting with Gertie being the younger daughter, whereas Nora feeling resentment towards Gertie for feeling abandonment when they were younger. 

Reading Gertie's story and everything she endured as well was heartbreaking. Yet, it drew me closer to her. Sometimes the best we can do is just love. This book will wreck you in the best way! An absolute, priceless, must read!


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