All Annie Gallagher has left in her life are stories. The most precious of these are the ones her father—an Irish storyteller—wrote for her as a child. After his death in the early 20th century, Annie is sent to America to live in a boardinghouse in New York City. She dreams of one day opening a library to help immigrant girls and to honor her father’s legacy. Stephen Adams is the neighborhood postman who is down on his luck and running out of money. He befriends Annie and falls in love. When he learns that Annie’s stories may be the works of a famous author, he is determined get them published and to earn enough to pay off his debts. But Annie is determined to do things on her own.
Annie’s Stories is the second book in Cindy Thomson’s two-part Ellis Island series, but there is no need to read the first (Grace’s Pictures) to be able to engage with this book. My only real complaint is that it gets repetitious. The reader is often—quite often—reminded that Stephen needs to learn obedience to God and Annie needs to have faith and trust in God, and, for me, the pacing of the story suffered. Though this book is set in turn-of-the-century New York and focuses on the lives of immigrants to the city, it is more of an inspirational novel. Although this isn’t my personal preference for historical fiction, it does weave a powerfully inspiring Christian message.