Ashes of Roses tells the story of sixteen-year old Rose Nolan's immigration and landing in America from Ireland in 1911. Rose's family is faced with obstacles at Ellis Island and also when they get into New York City. However, Rose has a fighting spirit and eventually secures employment in what seems like a great opportunity at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. She enjoys the camaraderie of her fellow employees above all else and does not seem to notice the poor working conditions that surround her. Little does Rose know the devastation that will occur one Saturday as she sets off on the last day of her work week. Will Rose persevere after the ashes settle around her?
This book is a great historical novel for children, teens and adults. It provides an insider's perspective of life as an immigrant and also the strengthening labor movement that took place in the early 20th century. The decisions that families had to make were difficult and guided by a need for survival. Mary Jane Auch easily transports the reader through Rose's plight from the very first page.