Ashes of Roses

Ashes of Roses

by M. J. Auch

Paperback(First Edition)

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When Rose Nolan arrives on Ellis Island as a seventeen-year-old Irish immigrant, she is looking for a land of opportunities; what she finds is far from all she'd dreamed. Stubborn and tenacious, she refuses to give up. Left alone to fend for herself and her younger sister, Rose is thrust into a hard-knock life of tenements and factory work.

But even as she struggles, Rose finds small bright points in her new life—at the movies with her working friends and in the honest goals of her mentor, Gussie. Still, after her exhausting days as a working girl, Rose must face the confusion of balancing her need for simple fun with her more wary feelings about joining Gussie in her fight for better working conditions.

When the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 rushes into Rose's life, her confusions are brought to an all-too-painful head. To whom and to what can she turn when everything around her is in ashes?

Sharp, poignant, and stirringly real, MJ Auch has written a powerful historical novel that is hard to put down.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312535803
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 07/21/2015
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 59,645
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.77(d)
Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

MJ Auch is the award-winning author of One-Handed Catch, Ashes of Roses, Wing Nut, Guitar Boy, and numerous other books for young readers. She lives in upstate New York with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Ashes of Roses

By Mary Jane Auch

Rebound by Sagebrush

Copyright ©2004 Mary Jane Auch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0613722523

Chapter One


There was no sense tryin' to sleep. This was the last night we'd be tossed by the waves in our narrow bunks. We were due to pull into New York Harbor at dawn, puttin' an end to the most unbearable two weeks of my life.

I shifted in my cot, tryin' to nudge my little sister, Bridget, over. She was barely four, and small for her age, but she took up more than her share of the narrow shelf we were supposed to call a bed. Ma had staked out a claim to four bunks in a row on the lower level when we first boarded the ship, but Bridget whimpered that she was lonely and moved into my bunk the first night. Next to us was Maureen, the middle sister, who made it clear from the beginnin' that she wasn't sharin' a bunk with anyone. I don't remember bein' that stubborn at twelve.

I heard poor little Joseph begin to whimper. He slept with Ma, although for the amount of sleepin' he did he might as well have kept his eyes wide open. The last few days especially, he was fussin' more time than he was quiet. I'd be glad to get off the ship so I wouldn't have to endure the comments of our fellow passengers, who were gettin' less patient with Joseph by the day. I loved my baby brother, but I wasn't so anxious to be around him myself.

I nudged Bridget over again, but themotion of the boat sent her rollin' right back to me. Finally, I gave up and fished for my shoes and shawl under my bunk. I decided to go up on the deck and see if any land was in sight. I tucked Bridget in with Maureen and climbed the ladder to the deck. A soft gray light filled the sky, and the wind made me pull my coat tighter around me. I wished we could have made this trip in the summer instead of February. We'd seen so little of sunshine, I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.

It had been two weeks ago that we set sail from Cork. As long as I could remember, Da had talked about comin' to America for a better life. So many people had left before us, it seemed the natural thing to do. As we pulled out of port, one man had shouted, "Will the last man out of Ireland please lock the door?" That brought a round of laughter from his friends, but we weren't more than an hour at sea before they were gulpin' pints of ale and singin' about wantin' to go back to dear old Ireland. Grandma Nolan had told Da that, no matter how much you wanted to leave, Ireland would tug on your heart until you returned. I thought she was just sayin' that to make him stay with her in Limerick, but maybe there was somethin' to it.

The deck was empty this last mornin' except for an old man who always seemed to be there, as if watchin' for land would bring it on sooner. He was leanin' on the rail, squintin' into the wind. "See that?" he asked.

I looked around to make sure he was talkin' to me. "See what?" I said.

"That dark shape over there? And another to the left of it? That's the Narrows. When we go through there, we'll be in New York Harbor."

"Ye mean it's land?" I asked. "I can't see anything at all."

As we moved closer, I could gradually make out what the man was talkin' about. There were other ships, too, but I couldn't tell if they were comin' or goin'. Other passengers were startin' to appear on deck now.

My heart beat fast as I crashed down the ladder to the steerage quarters. "Ma! Maureen! Get up! We can see New York. Come up on the deck."

Ma sat up and went into action. "Help me get shoes on the girls, Margaret Rose. And make sure all our things are packed into the two suitcases. Yer father has the trunk over in the men's quarters."

"But can't all this wait, Ma? I just want to see the city. I'll come right back to help ye."

All the talkin' had wakened other passengers. As they climbed out of their bunks, every inch of floor space filled with bodies. The first- and second-class passengers had their own compartments, but in steerage we were crammed like fish in a tin.

Maureen sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Where are we? Is this America?" She pulled on her shoes and headed for the ladder with laces floppin'.

"Stay right here," Ma said. "We need to gather our things. Maureen, take the large suitcase, and I'll carry the small one along with luggin' Joseph. Margaret Rose, you carry the feather bed and hang on to Bridget. There's goin' to be a great crush of people gettin' off this boat."

"But we're goin' to miss the Statue of Liberty," I protested. "I could've stayed on the deck, but I wanted ye all to see it."

"And see it we will," Ma said, "but we're not goin' up on the deck until I say we're ready. Now run a comb through yer hair, and yer sisters', too. I'll not have Uncle Patrick see ye lookin' like a bunch of ragamuffins."

Maureen and I were ready to jump out of our skins by the time Ma decided we were ready. We waited our turn in line. Maureen went up first; then Ma handed the large suitcase to her. It was my turn next. I was glad to be goin' up this ladder for the last time. All through the voyage, the boys would make a big fuss about lookin' up the girls' skirts as we climbed. They must have been pretty bored to get so worked up over a glimpse of bloomers.

Ma had the feather bed tied firmly in a tablecloth, but it was still bulky. I had struggled about halfway up the ladder when the ship began to tilt. I clung to the rung above me, but there was a ruckus behind Ma.

"Saints preserve us, we're sinkin'," a red-faced man shouted. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me down from the ladder, then pushed ahead and climbed out to save himself. People were shovin' behind us.

"Go ahead, Margaret Rose," Ma said. "I'll be pushin' Bridget right up after ye."

"Are we sinkin'?" Bridget whined.


Excerpted from Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch Copyright ©2004 by Mary Jane Auch. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ashes Of Roses (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 13 yr. old granddaughter read this book in school as part of her class. She loves to read and to write. She asked me if I ever heard of this horrible fire. Yes I was taught about it as a young lady too. She told me how well the book was written and that it flowed. She couldn't put it down. I purchased the book and found that she was correct. It is well written and shows what immigrants went through from the time they left their country to come to a better life in America. It takes place in 1911 and was researched very well. A fictional story through the eyes of a very young Irish girl who grew up over night and survived what most did not. By reading it also we were able to discuss the problems back then with sweat shops, the lack of rights etc. We were able to sit down and talk about today's immigration problems, the sweat shops overseas and how our ancestors worked hard for a place in America and why we disagree with the situations that exist in today's world. I think every parent should read this book and with their children of age. It is a true read that promotes conversation on unions of the past and why they were formed etc. It promotes conversation over video games etc. This little book gave us both memories. Highly recommend. Thank you.
110kitty More than 1 year ago
Rose immigrates from Ireland with her family, who all must return to Ireland except her younger sister. Thus Rose, the teenager, must make it on her own in an unknown land where relatives are not welcoming. A good fictional look at the poverty and struggles of the Irish in their early years in the U.S.,focusing on the deplorable conditions of workers in large, unsafe, sweatshops. The horrors of the 1911 fire are most real as seen through Rose's eyes. This book will hold your attention throughout.
liza-lou More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 11 and loved it. It's about this immigrant girl making a life for herself in the new world. Through ups and downs, including a fire at the factory she works at, she learns what she needs to do. Being a strong woman, she perserveres.

This book is mainly for children ages 12+, but is okay for 11 year olds. (I was freaked out at the end. If you don't like sad books, don't read this one.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cried so much in this book. I've read it three times now and I love it every time. The issue is sad, but the story is wonderful, inspiring, and it captures your attention. You want to help Rose and you cry for her. I LOVE this book!
countrylife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashes of Roses is the color of Rose's best dress, stitched by her own mother, before the family left Ireland to immigrate to America in 1911. Finally arrived at Ellis Island, baby Joseph is rejected because of an eye infection, and Da must take him back home to Limerick. They cannot all afford the travel back, so Ma and the three girls make their way to the home of Da's brother. There they find a cold welcome from his wife and her daughters. When things come to a head, Uncle Patrick purchases tickets for the four of them to return to Ireland. At the pier, Rose, 16, asserts her young adult-hood and her mother finally bows to her oldest child's desire to become an American. Her headstrong second daughter, Maureen, 12, wins her way as well, and Ma, with her remaining child, a toddler, get on board. The girls find a room for rent with a Russian Jewish family. Gussie takes Rose under her wing and finds her a job where she works, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There Rose makes other new friends, two other Roses among them. The Roses take their lunches together, and with them, Maureen and Rose see their first moving picture at the nickelodeon. Waiting in line for the elevator, as she leaves work with her first pay, there are screams of 'fire'. The horrors of the disaster at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on March 25, 1911, are handled well; not too gory for the young reader, yet with a solidly rendered impact of the catastrophe and the causes of it. The issue of unions is discussed via the character of Gussie, who is trying to better working conditions in these sweatshops. Homesickness, split families, immigration, the daily workings of the sewing trade, and of Ellis Island all figure in this story. The author lists some of her sources in her 'Author's Note', including online resources. Even though this is a young adult book, having everything falling into place for the girls in finding a room, food, and jobs, didn't feel 'real', when history shows that much of the immigrant experience did not go so smoothly. All-in-all, though, I found this book to be a good introduction to the subject for the young reader.
kb143317 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Nolan family travel from Ireland to America for a better life. But baby Joseph didn¿t pass the eye exam, so Joseph and his father head back for their homeland. The Nolan women are to stay at their Uncle Patrick¿s home until the rest of their family is to return back to America. Margaret, the mother is very unhappy with how their life is so far in America compared to the life they had in Ireland and wishes to go home. Rose and Maureen, the two eldest of Margaret¿s daughters, plead their mother to let them stay in America; their mother agrees. Rose and Maureen find a place to rent with a Jewish man and his daughter Gussie as their landlords. Gussie befriends the two Nolan sisters and helps them find a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. On March 25, 1911 a terrible fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. It brought 146 people to their death by either jumping out of the building¿s windows or by burning to death because all of the buildings doors were locked. Rose and Maureen survived the fire, but Gussie and their others friends did not. It was after surviving that tragedy that Rose decided to fight for union rights and labor laws.The piece of history this book focuses on I found very interesting when my history class last semester discussed it and couldn¿t wait to read this book. The story was very compelling and even made me cry towards the end.Extension Ideas1. Discuss how the immigration laws have changed over the course of the United States and why.2. Discuss the Women¿s Movement.
lwmasters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashes of Roses is a heartbreaking tale of the struggles many americans faced as they immigrated to America in the early 1900s. The story focuses on a family on Irish immigrants and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. A great book to read when studying about labor laws or immigration.
ninetythree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad, enlightening, amazing. An Irish girls struggle to survive and thrive in America's Industrial Revolution. I read it more than once as a young teen.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books! It is well constructed through-out the entire story, with vivid storytelling and endearing, realistic characters. It portrays the commonly told struggle of Irish-American immigrants in a fresh, engaging way.However, it is not until the last few chapters of this book - the climax - that you see how amazing of an author Mary Jane Auch can be. She writes with such tragic power and raw emotion that I could not stop crying reading this book.To this day, it remains the one fictional novel that moved me so extremely. A sad, powerful, and deeply written book that is one of my favorites.Excellent book!
range7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book that details the events surrounding the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York, 1911. The story is told through the eyes of Rose, a newly arrived Irish teenager and her journey to find work to support herself and younger sister. The hardships of immigrants coming to America are a focus of the first third of the book which includes the ship voyage, the Ellis Island process, and the first impressions of being in America. The second part of the book deals with Roses search for a job, being seen as a greenhorn by other immigrants, and finding a way to survive in the big city. The last part of the book details the workers and conditions of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and the results of the tragic fire which claimed 146 lives. The book is well researched and is written in an easy to read language. The disaster is explained in detail without being too graphic, still some may find it hard to read if they are sensitive to such details. Would make a great book for a discussion group.
maryanntherese on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This work of historical fiction is aimed at the middle grades. Follow Rose as she emigrates from Ireland and ends up working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. This novel portrays the struggles faced by immigrants in the early twentieth century.
dinomiteL12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for History, and I thought 'Oh, this is goind to be boring.' But instead I open the book and find an interesting story waiting in the pages. The telling of the crisis, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York is so creative, through a young Irish immigrant girl, and the tale of her working at the Factory.
LScrlovr20 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books ever! It was well written, and always interesting. The plot was never expected, it kept me guessing. There is not a boring page in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be quite enjoyable. Originally I was a bit hesitant to reading it, but when I actually sat down and read it, it was an enjoyable read. I would suggest reading this if it seems even the least bit interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
B&N are not letting people post reviews not even normal ones i am in a rebellion to stop them if you want to join put a capital y next to your name if you dont then put a capital n also i dont care if you dont believe me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is today. Also, if you were a part of the pact clans tribe, come back! We are at tribe camp result 1!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The small white cat stayed near a tree, almost blending in with the snow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm an elder.))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in. 'Anyone wanna buy a sardine?'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slept, exhusted and cold
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horseclan! At "James Dashner" result one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How about last res? Btw sparklestar is locked out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WhisperWillow pads out to see what the commotion was about. "What's going on?"