The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: Mary Hogan

The Woman in the Photo


I have heard the saying many times that “life imitates art” but now I can actually relate to it . Last week my brother in law and his wife were here for a nice long visit. The beginning of the week we went the Nassau County Museum on the Frick’s Rosyln Estate. The next evening we discussed the fact that Lynn’s family is from Pennsylvania near Johnstown. Coincidentally I had begun to read Mary Hogan’s, The Woman in the Photo (A).

Presently, Lee has gotten a clue as to whom her birthmother might be. A photo found in her adoption papers features Clara Barton and an unidentified woman standing amongst the rubble of the Johnstown flood. The woman bears a striking resemblance to Lee.

1889 Johnstown, wealthy families like the Fricks, Carnegies and Mellons are nestling into their exclusive summer retreats on Lake Conemaugh overlooking Johnstown.

In alternating chapters, Lee searches for her biological roots while Elizabeth Haberlin begins to understand the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary life.

The author certainly did extensive research and each chapter about The South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club is headed with a photograph from the Johnstown Flood Museum. The photos drew me in as much as the narrative. Both Lee and Elizabeth’s story mesh together seamlessly making the book compelling. The details about the flood were gruesome and so powerful that I became anxious reading about it. Ultimately the novel was an exceptional read with tremendous historical value. It’s definitely one I’d recommend.