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Contagion

3.03 of 5 stars 3.03  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Rose Dugan is a young and beautiful woman living in Philadelphia in the late 19th century passionate about keeping Philadelphia’s water reservoir clean and healthy. But when Rose starts receiving threatening letters, warning her to convince her husband to shut down his plans for a water filtration system or else, things take a turn for the worse. A conspicuous murder and b ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Running Press Kids (first published September 28th 2010)
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Lizzy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Margo Tanenbaum
I was disappointed in this historical novel, set at the end of the 19th century in Philadelphia, which revolves around a young woman named Rose Dugan. Rose seems to have it all--a fancy house, nice clothes, a best friend, and a rich and charming husband, Patrick. Her husband is a contractor who wants to build Philadelphia's first water filtration system, and is embroiled in the nasty world of 19th century urban politics. When Rose's best friend is murdered while wearing Rose's cloak, and Rose re ...more
Lexi
I liked this book but I didn't really really like is so 3.5 stars. It was interesting, set in 1895 in Philadelphia so there were some interesting words I had to look up because I wasn't sure what they meant, mostly articles of clothing. Rose Dugan is married to one of the city's most successful contractors. Her husband, Patrick, is trying to build filtration plants for city to help deal with typhoid.Patrick is willing to do anything to get those contracts--which puts Rose and those around her in ...more
QNPoohBear
It's 1895, almost a new century and Philadelphia is a rapidly changing city. Irish families like Rose's are becoming more respectable all the time. Her husband Patrick is a top contractor in the city and he wants to win the contract to construct a brand new water filtration plant. Rose and her best friend Nellie are on a committee of concerned citizens who want to preserve the city's parks, including the old water works. Sean, a manger at the water works, loves the old park and the old machinery ...more
Mevurah
It was a bit of struggle getting into this book. The beginning was slow but it did manage to pick up its pace after a few chapters. It's the late 19th century and Rose Dugan is a young 19 year old girl who has a strong passion about keeping the water in Philadelphia clean. Out of the blue, she starts receiving messages, warning her about her husband and that there will be consequences if she doesn't do something. Rose automatically becomes afraid shows Patrick the messages but he passes them off ...more
Lauren
Jan 08, 2011 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
*4.5*

Joanne Dahme's Contagion is one the best historical fiction books I've read in a long time. Deeply compelling, mysterious, and romantic, Contagion takes the reader back to 19th century Philadelphia where a scandal is just about to break out.

Contagion tells the story of Rose and Sean with alternating perspectives. To the untrained eye, Rose is a girl who seems to have it all- a rich husband, a life filled with riches, a best friend, and best of all, a cause to devote her time to. Though, und
...more
Donna
I almost gave up on this one. Am I glad I stuck it out? Meh. It was okay. What had me wanting to put it down originally was the language. Names were heinously overused in dialogue and for me, that really stands out. People don't say each other's names when talking to each other that often. It just ends up sounding stilted and it was used so much that it grated on me enough to want to walk away. Plus the plot was really lagging at the beginning. It didn't seem to be going anywhere and it was heav ...more
Melbourne on my mind
Plot summary: It's been a year since 18 year old Rose married the powerful Patrick Dugan. Promised to him by her parents at the age of 13, Patrick is all Rose has ever known. But Rose's passion for obtaining clean water for Philadelphia through education and sewer systems clashes with her husband's desire to gain the government contracts for implementing water filtration systems. With the threat of typhoid on the horizon and a case of mistaken identity leading to death, Rose must work with Sean ...more
Cindy Hudson
For as long as she can remember, Rose has been promised to Patrick Dugan, a liaison forged between their two prominent Philadelphia Irish families. Once married to him she finds herself mistress of a grand home and a staff of servants.

But their marriage also began with sadness, as Rose’s parents both died from typhoid and Patrick’s parents were felled by accidents. Now the threat of typhoid is being raised again—by Patrick who wants a lucrative city contract to build filtration ponds to prevent
...more
Lillie
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Jessica at Book Sake
A murder, a contamination, and a mystery all in one nicely wrapped package. The premise of the storyline with the contamination of the city’s water supply is original and something that has happened time and time again, yet this one is with a twist and it’s personal. Dahme’s attention to detail is shown through her knowledge of the water supply system and also through the detail of the clothing and mannerisms of the characters. At times the details of all of the different jackets Rose wore becam ...more
Savannah (Books With Bite)
What really got me spurring about this book was the dirty little secrets Patrick carried around with him. All the time as I was reading, I was angry at him. But he did entertain me and kept me well on my toes.




After losing her best friend, Rose is troubled by her husband's misgivings. Things are not the same with him. Threatening letters are being sent to her and she has begged her husband to do something about it but all he does if ignore her suspicions. All of the sudden, he's mean, contradict
...more
Jenna H.
THE TWEET
A young girl adjusts to marriage, while fighting her attraction to another man, & investigating deadly outbreak in 19th cent. Philadelphia.


WHAT WORKED
I liked how this book was straight up suspense/mystery. I've been reading a lot of paranormal YA recently and I love the genre, but it was nice to step away from that and read something different. Plus, I grew up reading mystery novels and it was great to "get back to my roots," so to speak.

I also really liked Patrick's character. He'
...more
Liz
Sometimes it seems as though within the historical fiction genre, the same few stories are repeated over and over again. When I heard about the premise for Contagion, I was immediately intrigued because it sounded so different. Although Contagion was a fast-paced and entertaining read, Dahme’s characterization left something to be desired.

I really enjoyed the plot of Contagion. It’s the only YA book I can immediately think of which deals with the subject of a plague or water contamination. The o
...more
Leanne
Okay, this book should really be a 2...because it wasn't good at all. Holy purple prose, batman. Especially from a male POV. BUT it read and was built exactly like a cheesy 1950s romance movie. And those are such a guilty pleasure of mine, thus this book being one too. I appreciate the different plot - an actual conflict and not just the obstacles of a romance, and the setting. And, no spoilers, but I did very much like the pacing of the romance between Sean and Rose. I know, though, that this b ...more
Rachel
So flowery, over-written, and slow paced, I couldn't read it. And I hate that because the premise is interesting (but doesn't make up for the fact that 3/4 of what I read should have been on the cutting room floor.).

Examples of the overwriting? "Her red hair appeared to blaze in the wash of sunlight." "I heard my voice rise defensively, buffeted by a wave of annoyance." "His eyes, which took on the shade of twilight shadows, shone beneath the light of the hallway chandelier with their usual zeal
...more
Ann
For Young Adult Readers:
A melodrama set in Philadelphia in the late 1800's this story features romance, greed and skullduggery.
The main story revolves around an ambitious young Irishman who marries up in order to promote himself into higher society. Patrick Dugan is not what he seems, and his sweet young wife Rose gradually begins to suspect he is up to no good. Told in alternating voices--that of Rose, and handsome young Sean who works at the water supply plant, and who doesn't trust Dugan--the
...more
Celina
Meh. I read the first two chapters and was so bored I did something I've never done before: I skipped to the end, read the last three chapters and called it a day.
Valerie K
I think this story is a great blend of fiction and history, relating some forgotten episodes in Philadelphia's past while adding human drama through the fictional and fictionalized characters interacting. A very enjoyable read that keeps you turning the pages.
Christine
Not what I expected, but quite good! I pegged it for a historical novel, maybe a bit of romance being found in a time of despair (typhoid), but it's actually something of a mystery novel, which I quite enjoyed. It had a few good plot twists that I didn't see coming.
Saima
I loved the book. It had the perfect amount of action and emotion. Although the main character was a mary-sue, she didn't take away too much from the book.
overall it was good and i'll give it 4 stars
Megan
I could not get into this book. I tried, set it aside, and then tried again. Great premise, but it didn't hook me.
Nikki
A little too predictable for my liking but fairly readable.
Sam Shivy
Sam Shivy marked it as to-read
May 24, 2015
Becky
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Lizzy
Lizzy added it
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Kme_17
Kme_17 marked it as to-read
May 06, 2015
Molly
Molly marked it as to-read
May 03, 2015
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Joanne Dahme has first-hand knowledge about the rivers and streams in the Philadelphia area as she works for the Philadelphia Water Department as its Watersheds Programs Manager. Her mission is to restore and revitalize Philadelphia’s rivers and streams.

During her years with the department, Joanne obtained a Master’s of Journalism and Master’s in Creative Writing from Temple University. Joanne ha
...more
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