Pamela Schoenewaldt Discusses When We Were Strangers

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Join Book Club Girl, of the blog http://bookclubgirl.com as she welcomes Pamela Schoenewaldt to discuss her debut novel, When We Were Strangers. "If you leave Opi, you'll die with strangers," Irma Vitale's mother always warned. Even after her beloved mother's passing, 20-year-old Irma longs to stay in her Abruzzo mountain village, plying her needle. But too poor and plain to marry and subject to growing danger in her own home, she risks rough passage to America and workhouse servitude to achieve her dream of making dresses for gentlewomen. In the raw immigrant quarters and with the help of an entrepreneurial Irish serving girl, ribbon-decked Polish ragman and austere Alsatian dressmaker, Irma begins to stitch together a new life . . . until her peace and self are shattered in the charred remains of the Great Chicago Fire. Enduring a painful recovery, Irma reaches deep within to find that she has even more to offer the world than her remarkable ability with a needle and thread. A moving, powerful, and evocative debut novel, When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt heralds the arrival of superb new voice in American fiction.

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