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Swimming in the Moon    by Pamela Schoenewaldt Amazon.com order for
Swimming in the Moon
by Pamela Schoenewaldt
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's 1904 in Naples, Italy. Fourteen-year-old Lucia and her mother Teresa (who is twenty-eight) are both servants to a count and his wife. Teresa admits to her daughter that her birth resulted from rape by an unknown man. They live a fairly good life aside from dealing with the count who is cruel, domineering, and never satisfied. Long hours doing menial work wears on them both.

Teresa and Lucia gain pleasure from swimming in the Bay of Naples after their day's work is completed and the moon is shining on the water. Teresa has an untrained but magnificent voice. After an unpleasant contretemps with the count, mother and daughter flee to America. Eventually, Teresa finds a job with a vaudeville group, traveling the States to entertain. Lucia is left behind to accomplish her cherished goal graduating from high school and attending college.

Of course, the plans of mice and men oft times gang astray. So it is with Teresa and Lucia. Lucia gets caught up in the Women's Rights movement. Dedicated women fight for the right to vote and receive the same pay as men for the same work as well as shorter work hours. An infamous fire in a shirt factory kills many women who were trapped by locked doors! Lucia puts her plans on hold while she works for the movement while Teresa runs into difficulties on the vaudeville circuit.

Swimming in the Moon is a story of love, devotion and the ability to do what is right, no matter how difficult. How to determine a goal and stick to it. It's a happy story in parts and so sad in others. But the essence of hope never really dies. A beautifully written novel.

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