NOTHING ELSE BUT MIRACLES, by Kate Albus, Margaret Ferguson Books, Sept. 5, 2023, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 9 and up)
Three siblings work to stay together when their father goes to war in Nothing Else but Miracles, by Kate Albus.
When 12-year-old Dory Byrne’s pop left New York City’s Lower East Side to fight Hitler, he promised her and her brothers that they’d be safe. Like he always said, “the neighborhood will give you what you need.”
There’s the lady from the bakery, who saves them leftover crullers. The kind landlord who checks in on them. And every Thursday night, the Byrnes enjoy a free bowl of seafood stew at Mr. Caputo’s restaurant. . . which is where Dory learns about the abandoned hand-pulled elevator that is the only way to get to Caputo’s upper floors.
But when a new landlord threatens their home in the community that’s raised them and kept them safe, the secret elevator — and the abandoned hotel it leads to — provides just the solution they need.
Based on a very real place in old New York and steeped in the history of World War II, Nothing Else but Miracles is a warm and inviting story of resilience, the tight-knit community of the Lower East Side, and the miracles that await in unexpected places. —Synopsis provided by Margaret Ferguson Books
Set on New York’s Lower East Side during World War II, Nothing Else but Miracles follows siblings Dory, Fish and Pike. After their father is drafted, the trio finds themselves surviving on their own. And while the novel is about all three of the Byrnes, it is told from Dory’s point of view.
Dory is a spunky protagonist that just makes you smile. She’s got street smarts in abundance and a heart that easily draws you in. She hates dresses — trousers are much more efficient — and has a penchant for getting into tight spots.
Author Kate Albus perfectly captures the sights, sounds and smells of 1940s New York. She immerses readers in the historical details while leaving room for her own exploration. But the highlights are the siblings’ interactions, which feel authentic and relatable.
Nothing Else but Miracles is a fast-moving historical fiction novel that is heartfelt and would make a fine addition to a personal or classroom library.
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