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March 30, 2011

One Book One Community 2011

“If you leave Opi, you’ll die with strangers,” Irma Vitale’s mother always warned. But Irma is too poor and too plain to marry and can’t find honest work in her tiny mountain village in Southern Italy. Barely twenty, she must leave home bearing only native wit and astonishing skill with a needle. Risking rough passage across the Atlantic, a single woman in a strange land, Irma seeks a new life sewing dresses for gentlewomen. Swept up in the crowded streets of nineteenth-century America, Irma finds workshop servitude and miserable wages, but also seeds of friendship in the raw immigrant quarters. When her determination leads at last to Chicago, Irma blossoms under the hand of an austere Alsatian dressmaker, sewing fabrics and patterns more beautiful than she’d ever imagined. Then this tenuous peace is shattered. From the rubble, confronting human cruelty and kindness, suffering and hope, a new Irma emerges, nurturing a talent she’d never imagined and an unlikely family, patched together by the common threads that unite us all.

When we were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt is the selection for our 2011 One Book, One Community program.  Copies are now available for checkout.  For more information about the author and the novel, please visit Pamela Schoenewaldt's blog: http://pamelaschoenewaldt.com/.  Program schedule coming soon!

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