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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book.
The book was obtained for our daughter. However my wife and I ended up reading it before our daughter ever saw it. Not only reading it but fighting over whose turn it was to read.
Mrs. Auch recreates the trials of the immigrants who built our country. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to move to another country and start all over. But this book gives...
Published on April 22, 2002 by Roger Jestel

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ashes of Roses
Ashes of Roses follows 16-year-old Rose Nolan's journey through "wonderful" America, the land of golden opportunities! Having heard prosperous tales of life in America, the Nolan family sets off from Ireland, the homeland they have come to know and love, in search of exciting new experiences. Immediately after arriving in America, however, Rose is faced with harsh...
Published on December 11, 2005


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book., April 22, 2002
By 
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
The book was obtained for our daughter. However my wife and I ended up reading it before our daughter ever saw it. Not only reading it but fighting over whose turn it was to read.
Mrs. Auch recreates the trials of the immigrants who built our country. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to move to another country and start all over. But this book gives some insight into the difficulties of finding work. The ease with which young immigrants were taken advantage of; in many ways. The importance of finding friends who could guide the newcomers. The reader feels they are a part of life at the turn of the century with all its tribulations and triumphs. Although directed at juvenile readers it is a great adult read and one that would make for good discussions with children or grand children.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ashes of Roses, April 21, 2002
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Ashes of Roses is a work of historical fiction that tells of Margaret Rose, a newly-arrived 16 year-old Irish immigrant who desperately desires and struggles to 'become American'. Rose's journey begins in 1911 with her arrival at Ellis Island. Her first job, working in a sweat shop making paper flowers, marks her first step towards self-reliance, but she soon encounters trouble. The owner takes advantage of her innocence and of her need for money, and late one evening physically assaults her. Rose escapes without her pay and only winter coat. The daughter of the Jewish man she rents a tenement room from, Gussie, is a union worker that gives Rose the courage to go back to the sweatshop the next day, get her coat, and demand her pay. Gussie is then able to get Rose a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, which pays better. Rose is able to worry a little less and enjoy her youth. She makes friends at the factory, sees a nickelodeon for the first time, and reads her first dime novel. But the real-life tragedy of the factory fire painfully jars her back to the harsh reality of the immigrant's life. (Of the 146 people that die in the fire, many of them are young girls who either jump to their deaths or are trapped in the burning building because of locked doors) Still, Rose finds within herself the strength to hope once again that she'd find America's streets paved with gold, and make a life for herself. "...I was a grown woman now, not somebody's little girl. The fire had changed me. Like a piece of iron in a blacksmith's forge, I had come out reshaped, stronger." Ashes of Roses tackles tough issues of the period like child labor, women's rights, worker's rights, discrimination, racial diversity, and class distinction. But never does one feel like she is reading a history book. Rather, the reader comes to care deeply for Rose, struggling along with her, and wanting desperately for her to succeed. The reader, and Rose, learn much along the way. This book stands alone as a compelling story, as does the author's other highly-praised works of historical fiction, i.e. her pioneer trilogy, Journey to Nowhere, Frozen Summer, and The Road to Home. Ashes of Roses is also a boon to history teachers wanting the past to come alive for their students. Furthermore, the author details the research that went into the making of Rose's story in the Author's Note, so teachers, librarians, and parents alike can feel secure in the knowledge that the people, places, events, and lifestyles portrayed in the novel are historically accurate. This book deserves a place on every library's shelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!, April 17, 2002
By 
Vivian L. Vandevelde (Rochester, New York USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Breathtaking in its intensity, the vivid details of time and place put you right in the scene--from the opening with 16-year-old Rose and the other hopeful Irish immigrants crowding the side of the boat for their first glimpse of New York, through the disappointments and triumphs of an exuberant young working-class girl in New York in 1911, to the horrific fire that claims the lives of so many. Rose Nolan is a likable narrator: determined, impatient, and sometimes cranky. Her adventures range from amusing (trying, more or less, to fit in with the family's German in-laws) to heartbreaking--all told in a memorable voice whose realness will shake you, particularly during the scenes of the fire and its aftermath.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Piece of Work, April 1, 2004
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Sixteen-year-old Margaret Rose Nolan learns about life in America the hard way. As an Irish immigrant to the U.S. in 1911, she doesn't expect the series of complications that leaves her and her sister alone and fending for themselves in New York City. But little by little, "Rose" (as she calls herself in America) finds that she is managing in this new life. She has a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and is beginning to find friends. Yet will she feel that she still wants to be in America after the tragedy that is soon to befall her?
Auch generally handled her topic and her character with skill. Although I am an avid historical fiction reader who has definitely heard similar stories of immigration and settling in America, good writing and pacing kept this one from seeming "deja vu." Rose and her sister will prove interesting especially to girls who read this novel, since it is fascinating to put yourself in the spirited Rose's "shoes" and see history though her eyes.
And indeed, Rose's spirit carries the novel as well. The first person narrative showcases her steely intelligence and resourcefulness, and her quick thinking and determination make her a suitable heroine. Although I found the author's habit of dropping Gs on words like "walking" (to imitate the Irish accent) a bit annoying, little can detract from the strength of this main character.
Finally, the development of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in the story line was excellent. The author had obviously researched the topic thoroughly, since she described it (of course through Rose's eyes) with a breathtakingly complete but natural narrative. Also fascinating were the many "hard to find" facts about this fire that were seamlessly revealed throughout the book's final chapters.
My only real complaint with this novel was the fact that it seemed to end a little too abruptly. Following the fire, I would have really liked to seem more of what happened to Rose, instead of just finding the end of the novel! Did she become successful in America? Marry? Have children? I felt disappointed to "meet" this strong character and see such a small portion of her life.
In short, "Ashes of Roses" is a skillfully done book with interesting history and a well-drawn character. Especially recommended for upper-elementary/middle school girls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Depiction, January 29, 2003
By 
Partridge (Boise, ID United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Rose wants to stay in New York after arriving as an immigrant from Ireland, but she finds that it is much easier for a man to make the riches promised in America than it is for a woman. She ends up working in a sweatshop where the owner tries to take advantage of her. She leaves there and finally ends up getting a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company where she believes she has finally found a place where she can build a life for her and her sister. But tragedy will soon tear her new safe world apart.
Auch pulls you into the world of 1911 and creates an atmosphere that allows the reader to feel the desparation that accompanied the fight for women's rights in the workforce. The characters come alive and when many are lost in the Triangle shirtwaist company fire you grieve for them along with Rose. Ashes of Roses is a poignant book that will move the reader to a new, deeper understanding of the struggle for rights and the horror of the fire that took the lives of over 150 people in the Triangle Company fire in New York.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ashes of Roses, December 11, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Ashes of Roses follows 16-year-old Rose Nolan's journey through "wonderful" America, the land of golden opportunities! Having heard prosperous tales of life in America, the Nolan family sets off from Ireland, the homeland they have come to know and love, in search of exciting new experiences. Immediately after arriving in America, however, Rose is faced with harsh realities as her little brother Joseph is denied access into the country, and her father has no choice but to accompany him back to Ireland. Before long, doubts of living in a strange land surface in Rose's mother's mind, and she decides to escape the unknown and return to the familiarities of home in Ireland. Left to fend for herself and her younger sister Maureen, Rose remains determined to make a life for them in America, and matures while struggling to overcome unexpected obstacles, such as the terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This convincing story, told in first person, succeeds in portraying the perspective of a young woman immigrant in the early 1900s. Mary Jane Auch's realistic storytelling does a good job in embracing the hardships of the time, although her writing style could be improved by more in-depth information and more detailed descriptions. Overall, Ashes of Roses is a nice story of independence posing some interesting situations, but it's an easy read not invoking much thought that falls into the category of a typical immigration book.

What exactly does it mean to be a true American? Is an American anyone who calls America home? Or does it have more to do with a person's beliefs? Does being American come with an established set of moral ideals? In Ashes of Roses, Rose Nolan strives to settle in America and become just like the other girls. To Rose, being an American means living in the same way as the other "American" girls and believing what they believe. For instance, Rose was always known as Margaret Rose in Ireland, but upon stepping foot in America, she wished to be called Rose, hoping to present herself in a new way for a fresh start. She also notices the "fashionable new Gibson Girl shirtwaists" worn by the girls and feels self-conscious about her own homely dresses, while longing to fit in. The strong personalities of women in labor unions also make an impact on Rose. She admires their boldness and is inspired by their courage to stand up for their rights. As Rose only tries to imitate the ways of her so-called Americans (in reality, fellow immigrants), the question remains unanswered. What does it mean to be an American?

-Sharon Xu
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, December 26, 2002
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
I've been meaning to read Ashes of Roses for a long time, and I was not disappointed. Auch writes well and makes both her characters and setting believable. 16-year-old Rose, an immigrant from Ireland, is left to care for herself and her sister in early twentieth-century New York, and quickly finds work and friends at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Tragedy befalls her when a fire breaks out at the factory, and Rose is faced with the difficult task of rebuilding her life.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I have a few quibbles. Rose's mother makes a flash decision to leave her and her sister behind in New York while boarding a boat headed back to Ireland, and I thought this was too unrealistic. Women in early twentieth-century America were not safe on their own, and I just can't believe that a mother would leave her children alone in an unfamiliar place and trust that they would find their way back home. I also was dissatisfied with the ending; Auch seemed to run out of ideas and just slap on an inspirational, hopeful ending. I would have liked to see Rose develop a little more.
Other than that, this was a good book. Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Ashes, July 10, 2002
By 
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
This is not your typical preachy Young Adult historical piece. The writing is just first rate, and this older adult could not put it down. Even though 1911 New York is evoked well, it is not overwrought with tedious description. The first person voice is entirely believeable. Enough complications ensue for the heroine to mature quickly - and yet one does not know who will die and who will be spared in the devastating fire that awaits these gallant young women, each wonderfully unique.
The author's timing has been uncanny. She turned in her manuscript the day the last survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire died at 107, a triumphant figure who lived her subsequent life to the hilt. And, in a line within the story, there is embedded a comment about the span of survivors' lives and a sort of reference to the event which not one of them would have to witness on 9/11. Some merciful providence had spared the last survivor. This is truly a graceful yet gritty tale, full of hope and of bitter realism. We are the same stuff of which those girls were made. Nothing so much compounded of love is ever truly lost.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahses of Rose, December 13, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Hardcover)
Joanna Baranska

Ashes of Rose

#071009005990

Did you ever wonder how it would feel to came to America, be torn away from your family, and working for 12 hours when your just 16? Rose knows exactly how it feels. Her family immigrates to America with her family in search of a new life and new opportunities.

The story begins with Rose's opinion on the whole America shebang while sailing to this new world. The huge crowds rejoice as they see the beautiful Statue of Liberty embracing them into the new world. They are happy because they finally finished the long and exhausting journey to America but scared of the treacherous journey that lies ahead of them at Ellis Island. As Rose and her tired family step off of the bout, they go through a short examination that checks if they are sick. Everyone gets through but when Rose's baby brother gets checked, it turns out that he is sick and can't enter the U.S.A. Devastated, the family is split up as Rose's brother and father have to go back to their homeland.

Rose, her mother and sisters stay at a relative's house. It starts out bad and ends up worse. Rose's mother cant take being without her husband and son any longer. She decides that she has to go back. And she does, leaving her two young daughters in the new and unpredictable America. Having enough with living with their snotty relatives, so they move out and move into a old mans and his 19 year old daughter's house. Rose needs to find a job to pay the rent so she and her younger sister find jobs at a clothing factory.

Rose and her sister miss their mother very much. They find new friends and finally start enjoying life in the U.S. Things couldn't be better for the girls. They get good at their jobs and have a bunch of friends. They even start to enjoy things like the theater and going out. Suddenly, on an average work day, a fire hit's the clothing factory while rose and her sister are working. The panic, drama, and suffering is unbearable.

To find out what happens, you will have to read Ashes of Rose for yourself. This book is great for a mature audience and will truly touch your heart as Rose tries to live a normal life in the New World.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inside View of Ashes of Roses, October 6, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Ashes of Roses (Mass Market Paperback)
"The last thing I saw was Joseph reachin' his little arms over Da's shoulder, his eyes wide with the shock of betrayal. I hadn't even kissed my poor brother goodbye." Sixteen-year-old Rose Nolan and her family come to America looking for a better life. An eye infection on baby Joseph splits the family leaving Rose and twelve-year-old Maureen alone in a new country. Struggling to survive, they work at a shirtwaist factory, and finally are settled. Then, a devastating fire takes everything that they worked for away. "Surrounded by pain, tragedy, and ashes, Rose wonders what is left for them in the great land of America". Ashes of Roses is overall a good book, though there are some parts that you have to reread to get the thought into your head. It is always entertaining, and very hard to put down. Though there are some sad parts, there is always a happy part to balance everything out. There are some bad people in this story, but that is just life. Mary Jane Auch puts a vivid image into your head of what life was like back then, and how hard it was simply to survive.

There are some sad parts in Ashes of Roses, such as when Rose had to leave her baby brother and her Dad at Ellis Island, because baby Joseph had an eye disease and ended up going back home to Ireland. Another sad part was when Mama and Bridget chose to go back to Ireland, because of grief. Rose and Maureen were supposed to go with them, but they both said they wanted to stay in "the great land of America." Finally, the last sad part was at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire because so many young girls died trying to escape from the burning building. Most died trying to land on the nets, but when you are nine stories up, nets do not work too well.

Though there is sadness, there is always a happy part to balance everything out. One example was when the Nolan family finally got off the ship and entered America. They were so happy to leave the gross, nauseating ship that they did not care about anything else. Another time was when Rose and Maureen finally found a place to stay. Though they had a tiny room in another person's apartment, it felt like the greatest thing in the world to those two. One of the best happy parts in the story was when Rose found Maureen alive after the Triangle Fire, and both were very relieved to know the other was alive. Although they lost several people close to them, Rose and Maureen were thankful to have each other.

Lastly, some bad people would be like Mr. Moscovitz. Mr. Moscovitz was Rose's first employer when she worked at a Paper-Rose sweatshop. Mr. Moscovitz mistreated the girls that worked in his shop, and he kissed Rose against her will. Another bad person was Elsa, Rose's aunt. Elsa was very rude when Mama, Bridget, Maureen, and Rose stayed in their family's apartment. Elsa would talk bad things about them behind the Nolan family's back, and one time Rose even listened in on what she was saying. That was the time when Elsa said that they smell like goats, and that the Nolans had not seen a bar of soap in their lives. The last bad person was Trudy, one of Elsa's daughters. Trudy was the person that Elsa would talk to about how bad the Nolans looked, and so on and Trudy would always agree with her mother, no matter what.

Ashes of Roses was a great book, hard to put down, and never failed to entertain. As with any other book, there are sad and happy parts. However, in this story, they even each other out. The author, Mary Jane Auch, has created a perfect image of what life was like back then. Therefore, if you are looking for a good read, Ashes of Roses is your best choice.

-E. Hubbard
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Ashes of Roses
Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch (Mass Market Paperback - February 10, 2004)
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