My Heart Remembers
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Bethany House, Mar 2008
In 1886 New York City, the tenement fire killed Ma and Da Gallagher, leaving their three offspring orphaned. The oldest eight year old Maelle has no time for grief as she watches adults split the trio into different families. She gives the new parents of baby Molly the family bible; and she gives her brother Mattie the family photo. She vows to them to one day find them even as everyone calls her Mike as her short haircut leaves her looking like a boy.
In 1902 Louisiana, traveling photographer Mike Watts continues her search for Mattie and Molly. Mattie has spent a lifetime being discarded by one family after another as he currently lives in Texas. Teenaged Molly was too young to remember the fire, her siblings, her biological parents, or even her birth name as the only family Isabelle as she is called ever had was the Standlers of Kansas City and they just died; but her older Standler brother scornfully informs her who she truly is.
Although the plot device of having siblings separated via the orphan trains with one eventually seeking the others has been used a lot, Kim Vogel Sawyer refreshes it in MY HEART REMEMBERS by rotating the story line between the three lead characters. Thus the audience obtains a deep look at what happened to the trio a decade and a half after the fire radically changed each of their lives. Historical fiction fans will appreciate the saga of the three Gallaghers.