Review of Elizabeth Street

I finished this book a couple weeks ago but I jumped straight into reading some other things. Combine that with a hectic calendar and I didn’t make the time to review this immediately. With my memory that means I’ve already lost a lot of what I read.

The story was a mixed bag. The heroine is an Italian immigrant who came to America at the turn of the 20th century. I really liked her character and the first half of the book. I felt like I could see her small home town in Italy and I could feel the grittiness of New York City in the early 1900s. I was consumed by the troubles that led her and her family to make the dangerous choice of uprooting their lives for the chance at something better. It wasn’t something better for everyone.

But Erin Morgenstern used a gimmick which just got in the way. The novel jumped back and forth on occasion to the 1970s where the author was learning about her family’s past. I’m not against playing with time in stories but the way it was used here it just derailed my interest for a couple pages every so often. It was distracting and it took away from rather than adding to my experience. Also the last third of the book focused on a child abduction which was long and drawn out rather than intense and climactic.

Overall I enjoyed it but in 6 months I won’t even remember that I read it. A mild thumbs up.