Updated: Sep 30, 2018
A thought-provoking and emotionally profound historical fiction novel about a photograph of two children for sale.
It all started when Ellis Reed spotted two blond-headed, scraggly young boys, pitching pebbles at a tin can, wearing nothing but patched overalls in front of a gray weathered farmhouse. When he raised his camera to take a shot he noticed the raw wooded sign: “2 children for sale.” Surprised and shocked, Ellis snaps a picture of the boys and that sign. Times were tough for everyone in 1931, banks were in crisis and breadlines were prevalent. But what could possibly pushed a family this most heartbreaking decision? Ellis never meant for the photograph to be published. But when Ellis’s editor at the Philadelphia Examiner saw the photograph, he wanted Ellis to write a feature article about the family. This might just be Ellis’s big break. The consequences of the photograph’s publication was more devastating than anyone could imagine. Lily Palmer, the editor’s secretary is despondent over the role she played in all that happened. She and Ellis attempt to make things right for this family before it’s to late.
Within the first few pages of SOLD ON A MONDAY we are totally immersed in the feel of the times and of the place. The writing is beautifully descriptive and emotionally provocative. The heartbreaking photograph evokes painful memories for both Lily and Ellis, ultimately motivating them to action at any cost. The brilliantly plotted story takes us on a wild ride from that front porch, to the hectic city newsroom, to a dilapidated boarding house, a swanky dinner club, an encounter with the mob, the home of a rich banker, a warehouse break in, and a barn in the middle of sprawling fields. It’s a fast paced novel rich with suspense and full of well-defined characters. Ellis’s struggles with his decisions, his career, and his father were readily apparent and made him seem vulnerable and real. Lily, my favorite character was smart and diligent, and knew she could do so much more than be a secretary. Her strength, persistence and bravery in the quest to make things right is what makes this book come alive. SOLD ON A MONDAY is a soulful blending of setting, story and characters.
This book was inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned the nation in 1948. This story reminds us that each of our perceptions are unique and to question what we think we see. None of us can know the true story behind a photograph that merely reflects a moment in time. KRISTINA McMORRIS is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and has written four other novels. Her novels have won over two dozen literary awards and nominations. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark
Published August 28, 2018