Book Review

By Cathy Connor

223 Orchard Street 
by Renee Ryan 

Ryan's 223 Orchard Street is "a heartwarming novel of the immigrant experience." The main character Katie, like many who came through Ellis Island, is fleeing a country where she has no future and is finding living and working in her new country more challenging than she could imagine. Her main goal is to save enough money for passage for her younger sister Shannon. Meanwhile, Shannon is feeling abandoned by her sister and begins to make plans of her own. Nothing goes as anticipated, including being detained at Ellis Island with an unknown illness and facing an uncompromising and frightening system. With fears of deportation, Katie enlists the aid of the talented and compassionate Doctor Brentwood, who is fighting his own demons. Renee Ryan's story presents the reader with many of life's conflicts; the stark contrast between the rich and poor, grief, lost love, self-doubt, disappointment, and hopelessness. Yet, at its core, it is a story of "redemption, self-sacrifice, and the power of hope when all else seems lost."