Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swimming in the Moon” as Want to Read:
Swimming in the Moon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

Swimming in the Moon

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,172 ratings  ·  171 reviews
From the author of When We Were Strangers comes a uniquely American story-a tale of deep, shifting ties between a determined daughter and her gifted, wounded mother in the early 1900s, framed by bitter union strikes, the thrill of vaudeville and a young woman's struggle to find her place

Lucia D'Angelo's voice is nothing like her mother's. She's no nightingale with the gorg
Paperback, 358 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swimming in the Moon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swimming in the Moon

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,172 ratings  ·  171 reviews

Sort order
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book very much. A very meaty plot with a very determined protagonist.
Janet C-B
This is a book that I had trouble putting down. As a historical novel set in the early 20th Century, it gave me a glimpse of a time, places and issues that were mostly unfamiliar to me. The setting for the book in the beginning is Italy, then later the United States. I thought the author did an excelleent job of conveying place, while not being overly descriptive. I was interested in how the author captured life in the early 20th Century and issues of the time, including the blending of immigran ...more
Amanda Sartin
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I loved this book. The setting is in an older time and tells some factual history. This story tells of a child dealing with a mother with what we call today mental disorders. An exile to America. A new life. Labor laws and how underpaid employees were trying to make it in a new industrial world. I felt like I could hear beautiful singing and see spectacular chocolate dipping done by hand. Very good detailed book. I got this from Barnes and Noble and was worth every penny!
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
In this early 20th century Italy to America immigrant story, Pamela Schoenenwaldt is juggling many issues: immigration, mental illness, worker’s rights, women workers, mother-daughter relationships, romance, and maybe more. She does not drop any of them. To me, as the reader, there are too problems swirling around at the same time.

After a slow start the author finally creates enough tension for the story to pick up. I did want to know how the she was going to wrap up the various issues. She acco
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an exceptional book that I did not want to end! This historical fiction starts in the very early 1900s in Italy, with a girl and her young mother, both servants to a Countess. Unfortunate circumstances force them to leave Italy and they find themselves on a ship to America. They are in dire financial circumstances as are most immigrants at the time, and as the daughter takes to school and high school, the mother begins to sing in Vaudeville to earn a living. This life does not last long as ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
What I loved about this book: Schoenewaldt deftly relates the Triangle Factory Fire's effect on other cities' garment workers, Cleveland's in particular. Unions and their history in this country are endlessly fascinating to me, and the author offers a great deal of insight into their beginnings.

I mostly liked the protagonist, Lucia, though she develops a bit of a martyr complex toward the end of the novel, and her unending idealism is wearing. Still, she is a strong, loving, good person whose de
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fourteen-year-old Lucia and her mother Teresa are forced to flee from their home in a lavish villa by the sea in Naples, living in the service of Count Filippo and Countess Elizabetta, following an angry and violent outburst by Teresa. Paolo, a loyal aid to the household is charged with arranging their journey by sea to their eventual new home with Paolo’s cousin Rosanna, who runs a boarding house in Cleveland, USA.

Once settled in Cleveland and doing very well with her studies Lucia sets her he
Book Preview Review
Book Description:

“Lucia D'Angelo's voice is nothing like her mother's. She's no nightingale with the gorgeous tones, tender and passionate, peaking and plummeting as dramatically as her moods. Yet in the rough world she's chosen, Lucia's words may truly change lives. In 1904, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her young mother Teresa are servants in a count's lush villa on the Bay of Naples. Between scrubbing floors and polishing silver, Teresa soothes the unhappy countess with song until one morning's
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book really blew me away! In 1904 Lucia and her mother Teresa leave Naples for Cleveland and a new life working in a factory with thousands of other Italians, Poles, Irish, and Bohemians. At 14, Lucia goes to school, learning English quickly, and is able to scribe letters home for other Italians who can't read or write, earning extra money. Her mother works in a factory dipping chocolates and entertaining workers with her beautiful voice. Lucia's greatest dream is to finish high school ...more
My Book Addiction and More MBA
SWIMMING IN THE MOON by Pamela Schoenewaldt is an interesting Historical Fiction set in 1905 Italy and Cleveland,Ohio. What an interesting story on immigrant life in the 1900's. Young Lucia,and her mother must flee the Bay of Naples,in Italy, where they end up in Cleveland,Ohio. Lucia's mother, Teresa, has a beautiful voice but she also has demons. Teresa becomes the Naples Nightingale and works on the Vandeville circuit. While young Lucia is clever,hardworking,and struggles to fit into her new ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story deals with mother-daughter Italian immigrants, and how they find their way in Cleveland, Ohio. The novel details how they survive within an early 20th century harsh environment.

The book begins in 1904, and the time period and struggles to live are depicted strongly, from women's rights, factory work, workhouses, boarding houses, the ability to buy food and clothes, and basically every daily life situation.

Within Cleveland, the immigrant world is abundant, with immigrants from all over
This is GOOD!!! Born in Italy, Lucia and her mother immigrate to America and try to settle into Cleveland. Lucia has her own ambitions but they are cut short by her mother's descent into madness. She meets Hendryk a Jewish boy at an English class at the immigrant center but feels it is no good as he has to marry where his parents say.
Good in math, she gets a job in accounting but soon seeing how badly immigrants are treated at the jobs they are desperate to keep, she finds something else to do a
This lovely, simultaneously sad and uplifting story of immigration weaves the intimate lives of our main characters into the great movements of the early 20th century. The relationships are touching, and I appreciated the focus on the topics of poverty, labor, mental illness, and diversity among migrant populations. Love (in friendship and romance) is threaded throughout. I recommend this to anyone interested in the early 20th-century American experience.
Kate Kerrigan
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully drawn novel about what is the deepest and most important love story of our lives - that of a mother and daughter. Swimming in The Moon brings history alive with such passion and attention to detail - I was just carried along by the characters and did not want the story to end. A book to to savor by an accomplished female voice. Loved it.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Teresa and her daughter are servants to a wealthy countess in Naples. Their lives change in a heartbeat and they flee to America. I loved how the story wove together their personal struggles against the struggles of all immigrants and workers in early twentieth-century America. I honestly could not put this book down; I was completely taken in by the characters and their story.
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointed
A depressing story with an incongruous fairy tale ending.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Simply Amazing! Especially for anyone that appreciates high-quality Historical fiction.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is breathtakingly beautifully written!
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first began reading this book, I found it intriguing, as the story focused on Lucia and Teresa, a mother and daughter who worked as servants for a Count and Countess in Italy. Upon the Count being deemed a madman, Lucia and Teresa escape to Cleveland, where they learn to navigate the world of immigrants, as they call America their new land. Teresa finds work as a chocolate dipper, than a vaudeville singer, while Lucia obtains her high school diploma, while also working to support the fami ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book by Pamela Schoenwaldt and I was not sure what to expect. In a small number of pages I was hooked. The story is about a mother and daughter who are servants in a villa on the Bay of Naples, Italy. When disagreements unfold, Teresa decides to take her daughter Lucia to the US. As anyone can imagine, changing countries and not knowing anyone are difficult. The story is a fast but never hard to follow. It felt to me like I was in the story and experienced all of the tricks and ...more
Judy Schachtner
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting time in America fighting for the LIGWU. Made me appreciate the safety and laws in place for jobs today! Also a great story dealing with mental health issues, when there were few viable choices for treatment. Also a nice love story.

I would recommend this book for good historical fiction and an in site into the immigrant’s life in America. My mother was born during this time to immigrants from Europe.
Lucia and her mother are forced to flee their home in Naples when one of her mother's outbursts costs them their home. They travel across the Atlantic to Cleveland, where Lucia's mother finds fame on the Vaudeville circuit and Lucia attends school and dreams of going to college. When her mother suffers a breakdown, Lucia has to take care of her and begins to wonder if any dream is possible.

This was a heartbreaking and frustrating book, but relatable and uplifting at times. The book shows the str
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Starting in an enchanting villa in Naples, and switching to Cleveland, this is a fascinating look at the immigrant experience. A mother daughter story that involves mental illness, and questions of family responsibility and obligation, I found much to ponder, and also to enjoy.
Kathie Dillon
Nice story, but...

The historical part of the book was well done. However the story line of Lucia and her mother was a bit too drawn out. And Lucia always seemed to look at the dark side of every issue, worrying about all the bad things that “might” happen.
Laura Veenendaal
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read all the way through ... a bit of a boring ending
Elizabeth Horvath
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Very good book! Highly recommend!
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite book for sure. It started with one story line, which led to another and then another etc. ending up with a main story of unions and strikes. No thank you!
Mary Dellamora
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gives the reader a view into the struggles of the immigrant worker in America and their struggles to assimilate while dealing with family responsibilities. Excellent book.
Oonagh Clarke
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not a book I would normally read but enjoyed it
Rita Janzen
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Family and friends
I really enjoyed this book. This was my first book in the historical fiction genre. I found the descriptions very immersive and I really enjoyed learning more about the working conditions in the early 1900s in America. It really gave a true daily life feel of what people went through.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gold Rush Girl (The California Argonauts, #1)
  • The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, and the Amazon Queen
  • The Center of the World
  • Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology
  • Clare
  • The Wife of John the Baptist
  • Crossing on the Paris
  • Under the Jewelled Sky
  • Jane
  • Love and Lament
  • Keeping Time
  • Mama's Child
  • Rachel (Sunfire, #21)
  • The Island of Doves
  • The Lost Duchess
  • End Emotional Eating: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Cope with Difficult Emotions and Develop a Healthy Relationship to Food
  • Friendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
  • ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy
Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy and the United States. Her play, “Espresso con mia madre” (Espresso with my mother) was performed at Teatro Cilea in Naples. She taught writing for the University of Maryland, European Division and the University of Tennessee and now lives i ...more