Reviews: Swimming in the Moon

Second novel, 2013

Second novel, 2013

I’ll be keeping links to book bloggers’ reviews. See below for media and author reviews.

“A testament to the love and enduring bond between mothers and daughters, childhood friends and adoptive family, Swimming in the Moon is a must read for anyone who enjoys beautiful, richly drawn characters, and a historical setting so realistic that one would believe they had been transported to another time. A glorious, unforgettable novel, A+.”
Pittsburgh Examiner

“Swimming in the Moon is a beautifully told coming-of-age story about a resourceful immigrant girl in the 1900s whose passionate, troubled mother constantly threatens what little stability they achieve. From the sun-baked cobblestones of Naples to a crowded boardinghouse in Cleveland to a grand vaudeville hall in Chicago, Pamela Schoenewaldt brings to vivid life a compelling, richly detailed world.”
Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, a New York Times Bestseller

“A beautifully drawn novel about what is the deepest and most important love story of our lives—that of a mother and daughter. Swimming in the Moon brings history alive with such passion and attention to detail—I was carried along by the characters and did not want the story to end. A book to savor by an accomplished female voice.”
Kate Kerrigan, author of Ellis Island, a New York Times Bestseller

“Lush with historical detail, Swimming in the Moon celebrates the power of the mother-daughter relationship. Pamela Schoenewaldt delivers another novel full of richly realized characters, who transport us to the immigrant neighborhoods of early twentieth century America.”
Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye

“It’s 1910 and Cleveland is a rough grimy place if you’re poor and an immigrant. Lucia, a heroine you won’t forget, is on the run and right off the boat from Italy. Not only that, she’s alone and caring for her mother, a half crazy singer and the kind of Diva that would be in People magazine if it were today. There’s a love story, of course, and a cast of wonderful characters from all over the world, but what’s at the heart of this beautiful book, is not the romance between Lucia and Henryk, the young Jewish grocer, or even Lucia’s passion for social justice and her work for the unions, it’s the relationship between mother and daughter. As the mother descends into madness, Lucia must choose to protect her and try to bring her back or to forge her way into the future. It makes you wonder, what would you do?”
Patricia Harman, author of The Midwife of Hope River

“In the great tradition of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Amy Bloom’s Away, and E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Pamela Schoenewaldt’s Swimming in the Mood is a beautifully rendered and poignant family drama that teems with the life of the early 20th Century America. Fleeing servitude in Italy, Lucia and her mother Teresa end up living among poor workers in the factories of Cleveland, where dangerous conditions and low pay galvanize a struggle for respect, security, and fair wages. Their story is a testament to both the human quest for justice and on a more intimate level, the enduring power of love. Schoenewaldt has given us a whole universe between the covers of this book.”
Dana Sachs, author of The House on Dream Street and If You Lived Here

“This is a beautifully written book just in terms of the use of language. However, it also paints a believable and poignant portrait of an early 20th-century American city. Universal themes of caregiving and the tragedy of mental illness play major roles. There are even glimpses into the vaudeville lifestyle when Therese attempts to return to her singing to help support herself and her daughter. One can’t help falling in love with these two women. They might be our mothers or sisters in another place and time. This is a special novel that remains with the reader long after the book closes.”
Historical Novel Society

From the UK
Swimming in the Moon is a fascinating novel, well-researched and touching on themes of workers’ rights, prejudice and the treatment of the mentally ill, which nevertheless keeps plot and character to the fore. The reader learns much about a different time while enjoying a coming-of-age story about a strong woman.”
We Love This Book

“An amazing novel. Storytelling at its best… Although a story of hardship, of tragedy, of the abuses of power, of dreams quashed this is essentially a life affirming novel. Wonderfully written and full of vividly portrayed characters.”
Pen and Paper

More Media Reviews
Authors ‘Round the South
Knoxville News Sentinel (From Chapter 16/Humanities Tennessee)
Publishers Weekly
RT Book Reviews
Shelf Awareness, September 13, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 10, 2013

Pamela Schoenewaldt

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Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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