Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather Chapman

Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Forgotten Girl” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

The Forgotten Girl Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.
Photo Credit: Amanda Conley Photography

There is something about Biological Historical Fiction which pulls me inside the stories – of seeing how close we are to grasping the truths of our ancestors – known or unknown – as we traverse back through time, if only to pause for breath within a lived life so wholly brought back to life through the writer’s heartful attempt at honouring the past. This is also true of why I love reading Historical Fiction, as we get to re-live the past, seek out the hidden truths therein finding new empathy and understanding for our own lives today. There is a wider scope of how everyone is inter-connected and by re-visiting the historical lives of those who came before us we can find further insight into our world and into what unites us rather than focusing on our differences which try to divide us.

One particular branch of Biological Historical Fiction I am loving are the stories writ straight out the ancestral records and living histories of the writers themselves! I have had the pleasure of reading quite a number of these kinds of stories the past few years, each time I stumble across them I am truly thankful for the time the writer has taken to not only tell the stories but to find such an authentic voice of their ancestors channelling through their story.

As soon as I picked up The Forgotten Girl it did not sound like a contemporary writer was telling this story – it was one of those rare moments where it felt akin to a descendant who had fused so truly into their ancestor’s life as to channel them directly forward to tell their own story. These beautiful quotation banners were provided by the author for me to use as I help spread the word about this novel, as it truly is a story everyone who loves a hard-won second chance, a renewal of spirit and the redemptive healing of true love will attest this novel rounds out the true impression of what Ms Chapman’s great-grandparents (Stella and Mike) truly could have experienced when they were alive.

This first quotation I’m sharing is at the heart of Stella’s story – which lies at the heart of all our stories, for those of us who are seeking to change our stars or to endeavour to live elsewhere from whence we were bourne. We might cross miles rather than oceans, but wherever each of us is led to live and take a leap of faith towards seeking out a new path elsewhere from where we once were is to etch out a will towards believing in what tomorrow can yield even if the path isn’t clearly defined to follow. This quote speaks to how change is sometimes so mute and subtle as you nearly feel you’ve imagined hearing it against the wind. I felt it was an accurate statement for Stella’s change of destiny, too. She had to fight her doubt and believe in the unthinkable whilst holding onto the change which nearly didn’t arrive in time to alter her journey.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather ChapmanThe Forgotten Girl
by Heather Chapman
Source: Direct from Publisher

It is 1906, and sixteen-year-old Stella’s future in Durliosy, Poland has never looked bleaker. After losing her parents at a young age, she was taken in by her brother’s family. But now, after yearsof mistreatment, she determines to escape her brother and the oppression of Russian-occupied Poland and travel to America - a land of hope and opportunity.

Determined to find her independence, Stella is not looking for love, but after arriving in Fells Point, Maryland, she’s can’t help but be drawn in by a tall stranger, despite his rough exterior. What follows is a journey of love, loss and self-discovery. Can Stella find happiness in her new life? Will she be able to let someone love her, and can she let herself love him in return?

Inspired by a true story, witness how a forgotten girl made her life truly unforgettable.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1462120642

Also by this author: The Second Season, Author Interview (A Second Season), Unexpected Love

Published by Sweetwater Books

on 13th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 184

 Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories I’ve read by this author:

The Second Season by Heather ChapmanUnexpecred Love (anthology) stories of Marriage of Convenience by Cedar Fort authors

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction, Stories based on #Ancestry

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

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My review of the forgotten girl:

Stella’s living arrangements with her brother’s family isn’t the best of arrangements; for starters, her brother’s wife doesn’t take kindly to having her in her home. You can tell from the way in which she articulates her pain – this isn’t a home which is kind to orphaned siblings. Her heart yearns to break free of their control, of finding her own way out in the world and to see if her determination to change her own stars has merit of purchase in a new country such as America. Her life was upturnt by tragedy (her parents’ premature deaths) compounded by the fact, now as a girl of sixteen (ten years since she first lost her mother) she’s finding how harsh the world can be for those who are not wanted by their own kin.

The one saving grace she had is her niece Bronia, the little girl who sees Stella as her guardian and rescuer from her brothers – to each other they are the calming balm out of the storms of life. Yet, you can tell even young Bronia isn’t enough to tether Stella to this life of servitude and resentment. She has no freedom and no voice of her own; everything is structured around what her family feels she is required to do in order to earn her own keep and not be a nuisance underfoot.

Her brother asks too much of her, such as pulling a cart to market more miles than a person could handle despite the fact her friend helps her to make part of the journey less tiring. Even when she speaks to someone she felt she could confide in about her plight, she finds an ear not in-tune with her needs but with the reality of what they already know: a girl like Stella could only wish to marry and marry quickly before she loses her chance to escape her brother’s house. The desolation in her voice and the anguish in her countenance is heavily laced with anger due to the hopelessness of her situation. She feels she would have a better chance elsewhere but how to convince those in her life she’s outgrown her need to stay where she was bourne is quite the other matter. She’s not one to simply take life on its chin; she thinks about how to change her life and the path she’s meant to walk if only she could effectively remove herself from Poland. For her, the country is changing too quickly and it is not allowing her to find traction towards a future she could feel comfortable in living. That’s the truer truth of it – when everything is taken away, sometimes the best thing to do is to relocate elsewhere if only to have a chance of starting anew.

It isn’t just the work she is meant to do by her brother and his wife, it’s how they insist that she can shoulder everything they expect of her without any return; no kind words, no offerings of joy. She has to bear the brute of what they want her to do with little to fuell her energy or her heart. Even her clothes are allowed to fall to disrepair because they do not place a note of alarm on what she goes without as it would effect what they have themselves. They are not equal in how they raise children; for Stella is the castaway, the one who no one wants to acknowledge; not even her other brothers, the ones in America already or the one who is in the priesthood locally. If anything, she truly has become forgotten almost as easily as their parents who are but muted whispers of memory.

As her journey begins towards her future in America, she has unexpected kindnesses greeting her – from her childhood friend helping to fund her passage (along with one of her brothers in America) and the mother on the train who imparted timeless advice about how to get on in the world when you’re travelling alone without chaperone; each of these small gestures in turn, helped Stella get further along her path. She was not entirely oblivious of the world, but she was sheltered in some ways in understanding her position within it. As she reached the train station, your own heart was celebrating her strength and the fortitude she had to take such a bold leap forward to change her destiny from a life of regretted despair.

Once Stella is reunited with her brother, Vic she finds starting over in a new country is harder than she first realised even if it hasn’t truly hit home yet how dangerous it is to work in the sweatshops where they locked the doors on the workers. I still have shivers in my spine after reading Rivington Street which talked about the shirtwaist fire; thus, I was prepared a bit for what was foreshadowed to happen to Stella. I enjoyed her courage on the passage over where she made a true connection to a Polish family where she could help the mother expecting her next child with the ones she already had to bring to America. Despite the unease of the husband, by the end of their journey across the sea to Baltimore, they left as family which I think pointed to how despite everything else, when you experience the same hardships you can form a bond which is not easily broken.

The toils and heartaches were quite common amongst the immigrants who tried to forge a life out of America during this era – Stella refused to see her circumstances as anything except a gift for being delivered out of Poland. For her, just being in America was the dream yet in regards of formulating her long-term plans whilst she was here? This isn’t what was immediately important to Stella – instead, you watch as she makes a dear friend at the clothing factory who not only understands her heart and interests but is the kind of sisterhood friend you wished for yourself. Her brothers have grown and altered from the young boys she once knew – although Vic’s story is threaded into her own, there is a coming-of age separation occurring between the two siblings.

This is where Ms Chapman tackles what would become of a young man cast into a new world where it is easy to make the wrong choices and to suffer the consequences of those actions. Stella for her part keeps her eyes open to the opportunities awaiting her where she can see forward motion in her life with the security of constant work. Her courage to find a way forward where no path is laid down before her to follow is what endears you to her but you can also see how sometimes Stella can be a bit too stubborn for her own good! She has well-worn moxie in her blood – where she refuses to allow others to make her mind about things but at the same time, learning to yield to others was not something which came easy to her due to her past.

The thread I enjoyed watching develop was what happened with the boys she met after she left the ship and started to settle into the city. Here she was allowed to choose her own company, make new friends and decide what she wanted to do with the hours she had off work. In those crucial moments, Stella started to go with the flow of what her friends’ were doing but she still held true to herself as well. You could see how she could have started to put down the seeds of roots – of finding her way in a world she still was learning how to understand (as English was difficult for her to learn). I had a suspicion Ms Chapman’s great-grandfather might play a key role in the context of the novel, however, even I was surprised how Mike entered Stella’s life!

As a credit to how powerful the emotions are within The Forgotten Girl, you feel as Stella had herself – as if you have lived a mile in her shoes well enough to understand why being in America was her soul’s resolution to finding the freedom her spirit needed in order to breathe and thrive. She truly believed in herself and the ability to live elsewhere in order to find a life worth living. She is a wonderful champion of the hope everyone has to find where they belong and where they can find truer happiness in a place which uplifts the spirit as much as it seeks to give immeasurable joy to those who find the one niche where they feel they can become part of a community.

On the historical writing styling of ms chapman:

The Forgotten Girl Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.
Photo Credit: Amanda Conley Photography

Ms Chapman has truly carved out a jarringly insightful dramatic look into how her great-grandmother might have lived as she pulls this story out of her own ancestral past. She tips her pen towards threading the emotional desperation of Stella’s soul, of finding ways to articulate what she is feeling and how to make those emotions tangible to the reader. It is also befitting we meet Stella during the harsh months of Winter, of where we can find the environment is just as difficult to bear as it is for Stella to live through the hours in the house where love never finds her nor offers her any comfort.

You can understand why Stella didn’t want to hold onto ‘the old country’ as if she were to keep her heart tethered there she might miss out on the chance to start anew in America. I loved reading the Author’s Note at the conclusion of the novel – as she talks about the pieces of the novel which were pulled directly out of second-hand accounts on behalf of Stella and Mike’s living histories. These are the snippets of what was passed down about their journey to a new world but also, how they might have forged a path towards finding each other and eventually, how they might have become united in love.

The beauty of how Ms Chapman wrote the story is what I mentioned earlier – how she channelled Stella’s voice with such a rapture of truthfulness, you truly felt this might have been the journal Stella left behind rather than a novel a descendant of hers wrote on her behalf. It is emotionally evocative of an immigrant’s sojourn journey towards a future she could only hope to believe was awaiting her and how sometimes in life, without daring to take a risk we cannot change our lives for the better.

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaFollow the Virtual Road Map

by visiting the blog tour route:

The Forgotten Girl blog tour via Cedar Fort Publishing and MediaI look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: “The Forgotten Girl” Quote banners were provided by the author Heather Chapman and are being used with permission. Book covers of “The Second Season”, “Unexpected Love Anthology”, and “The Forgotten Girl”, synopsis for “The Forgotten Girl”, author photo of Heather Chapman and her biography, the blog tour banner and Cedar Fort Publishing badge were all provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Shirtwaist Industry, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, the Nineteen Hundreds

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