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The Woman in the Photo

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,508 ratings  ·  428 reviews
In this compulsively readable historical novel, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of two young women—one in America’s Gilded Age, one in scrappy modern-day California—whose lives are linked by a single tragic afternoon in history.

1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Mary Hogan Hi Kay...and everyone else who has asked me about the Horseshoe Curve. First, please forgive this delayed response. I don't check Goodreads as much as…moreHi Kay...and everyone else who has asked me about the Horseshoe Curve. First, please forgive this delayed response. I don't check Goodreads as much as I should. :(

Kay, you are SO right about the Horsehoe Curve! Yikes. What a boo-boo. During one of my research trips to Johnstown, I took the train from NYC to Johnstown and rode around that amazing curve. It was so magical (a must-see) I knew then and there I would put it in the book. I didn't even THINK to check the route from Pittsburgh. A knife in my heart. And a life lesson. Thank you all for letting me know about my blunder. But check out the curve. It's amazing!!!(less)
katie It is not a non-fiction book, but a historical fiction novel. The setting of the novel takes place before and during the Johnstown Flood in 1889, but…moreIt is not a non-fiction book, but a historical fiction novel. The setting of the novel takes place before and during the Johnstown Flood in 1889, but the characters are fictional. (less)

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 ·  2,508 ratings  ·  428 reviews

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Angela M
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I felt connected to the two characters focused on in the alternating narratives. In the 1888 -1889 time frame, Elizabeth Haberlin from a well to do family, part of the circle of famous rich people of the day - the Fricks, the Carnegies, proves to be her own person as she is not ready to conform to the acceptable behavior for a young lady ready to make her debut. She spends summers at an elite club not far from Johnstown, PA. Lee Parker, in the present day story lives in California and was ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Two time lines, one the Gilded age, one present day. Two settings, one in Johnstown, PA. One in California. Two young women, Elizabeth Haberlin, soon to make her début, spends her summers with her family and the other wealthy elite such as the Fricks and Carnegies in Johnstown, Pa. Lee, the other young lady, eighteen and adopted, wants to find out about the family and the mother who gave her away. Both of these young ladies have strong minds of their own. A photograph of two women will be the ...more
Irresistibly readable. Quite a surprisingly plucky and addictive, good novel. A fusion of contemporary and historical, mainstream and chick-lit, with a bit mystery and light suspense woven into the mix.

Mothers and daughters, whether non-biological or naturally ordered, are complex relationships. Finding one's place and purpose in this world, on the cusp of adulthood - deciding what to hold dear and what to let go, when to immolate and when to forge your own path - can be confusing in the best
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
So when I first grabbed this book I thought it was a thriller based solely on the cover. I finally get a chance of reading it and while I like the premise the way the story was told fell flat for me.

1889: I learned about the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood in 1889 through the eyes of Elizabeth Haberlin. She was a snotty rich debunte with a summer house nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. I would have like a story based on her and her alone. I didn't connect with her and her attitude of being
The synopsis sounds amazing but I couldn't do it. From the very beginning the writing struggled to hold my attention but when I read this line, "Frustration gusted from Shelby’s lips like seawater from a whale’s blowhole" I was finished. DNF.
Cathy Daniel
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK! First, it's SO refreshing to read a historical fiction book that's not a romance in disguise (though there is some romance) second, it is a clean book! No sex, no bad language. Totally 100% PG. I hate how rare that is to find. So this is refreshing. I knew nothing about the Johnstown flood before this book. It was interesting to learn about it and now I want to google and learn more (always a sign of a great book) this book is a little clean romance, a little chick lit, a ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
This is the first historical fiction I have read that deals with the flooding of Johnstown on May 31st, 1889. This is a very dramatic and tragic aspect of the book and one of the reasons I liked the book so much was just the fact that it really moved me.

But, I'm getting ahead in the story. We are first introduced to the characters in the dual stories, Elizabeth Haberlin a rich young woman who spends the summers by the beautiful lake above the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She spends the
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Haberlin is one of the most refreshing characters I've read about in a novel in quite some time. She's a strong-willed, determined young woman who brings Mary Hogan's entire novel, The Woman in the Photo, into focus. And, her story brings The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to life.

Hogan's novel is the parallel story of two young women, both on the verge of adulthood. In May of 1889, Elizabeth Haberlin is the trying daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Stafford
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"The Woman in the Photo" is set in two time periods. Elizabeth, living in the late 1800s, is lucky enough to be among the wealthy set of those who come to vacation in Johnstown, PA. She rubs elbows with the likes of the Carnegies and the Fricks among other titans of energy. When a tragic flood decimates the town, Elizabeth will have to find new courage. In the present day, Lee is a young woman who was adopted as a baby in a closed adoption. One small clue (the photo alluded to in the title) will ...more
Brooke Showalter (Brooke Blogs)
The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan is a book that had my rapt attention from start to finish. The book takes place in two time periods: present day, and also the end of the 1880s. The Woman in the Photo follows Elizabeth Haberlin, an elite member of Pittsburgh society, who spends her summers at their private retreat in the Allegheny Mountains high above Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The story also follows the present day story of Lee Parker, who turns 18 and has her closed adoption file opened, ...more
Ann Woodbury Moore
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a double story. In 1888 Pennsylvania (told in first person) Elizabeth Haberlin, the spoiled, selfish daughter of a wealthy physician, vacations with her family at an exclusive resort in the Allegheny Mountains. She flirts with an Englishman and slowly becomes acquainted with--and sympathetic to--the working-class residents of nearby Johnstown. The next year, Dr. Haberlin sends his family to the resort earlier than usual and they experience the devastating Johnstown Flood, when the ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review soon
Grace Troxel
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan is a new historical fiction/contemporary novel that explores the Johnstown Flood. In the late 1800s, a bunch of rich Pittsburgh industrialists (Carnegie, Frick, etc.) had a private lake in South Fork, PA. The lake was man-made, held in place by an earthworks dam. The industrialists did not maintain the dam, and in 1889, after a particularly rainy
Stacy Jensen
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was another, "I'm bored and need something to occupy myself while I spend 17 hours in the car on the way to Utah." A photograph bridges the lives of two young women living decades apart. Written around the events of the Johnstown Flood, a real life disaster, and involving the actual participants in this historical tragedy, the story was oft times clunky in its delivery. I felt like the author was just trying too hard to draw correlations between the two women, so that instead of being ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed by this novel. I had looked forward to reading it. Part of the novel was supposed to be about the Johnston Flood, which is an historic event I have read about before; I have also visited Johnston, Pa. I felt the novel glossed over the tragedy, and used it as a vehicle for change in one of the characters. I found the metamorphosis of the character unbelievable. The novel varies between two time frames, and I didn't find the protagonists in either story line believable.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very readable, interesting , two time periods and topics nicely connected/intertwined; and I learned from both. First was the Johnstown, Pa. flood - what led up to it and why it was not prevented. Then present time a teen in California trying to locate her birth mother with only a picture from the Johnstown flood as a clue. Throw in a bit of Clara Barton. Just a good read.
Vera Long
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Knowing little of the Johnstown flood, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, alternating between 1889 — the story of Elizabeth Haberlin — and Lee Parker in the present day. Lee Parker’s world has fallen apart and she decides to look for her birth mother. Elizabeth Haberlin’s story is one of supreme courage. One of the original feminists before feminism was born. How these two stories intersect, is of course what brings this very readable book to its inevitable conclusion.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I was so intrigued by this story line that I could not pass up a chance to read about the Johnstown Flood. I live not far from the town; I have traveled there on numerous occasions for work or fun. I always held the knowledge that once upon a time, there was a catastrophe that happened there, but I had never learned any of the details. I had never taken a look at what stands today or given thought to what had preceded our time.

This had me feeling like I was taking a step back in time. The detail
Suze Lavender
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's 1888 and Elizabeth's family has enough status to spend their summers at a lake in the Allegheny Mountains. The lake is above Johnstown. The inhabitants of the town don't interact much with the people who are staying at the club. The members are elite, people who are proud to be able to afford a place there and look down on the inhabitants of the town. However, Elizabeth doesn't blindly follow the opinions of her parents and can think for herself. Something isn't right with the lake, there's ...more
Hart's Reader Group
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review--so, here it is!

This was my first book by Mary Hogan and, after reading the blurb, I was rather intrigued. I occasionally like to dig into stories without romance or suspense--I'm eclectic like that.

This story was chronicle of two different women across two different generations. They're both dealing with what life throws at them with grace and a heaping helping of learned lessons.

The beginning was a little slow, but I stuck
Michele Hoffstetter
Feb 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
When I started reading this book I kept turning it over to see if I had picked up a YA book by accident. The writing feels stilted; like the author is trying much to hard to use slang from the era. As a former resident of the area where the protagonist is "from", I just couldn't handle the inaccuracies. I'm not going to be finishing this one which is too bad because I was very excited to read about the johnstown Flood. I guess I'll just read the non-fiction account by David McCullough instead.
Nancy Jacobson
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nancy-s-books
This book was highly recommended and I was not disappointed. Although I knew about the Johnstown flood I did not realize many of the circumstances tha caused this terrible event. The book is an easy read and the story-although taking place in the past and present-is very clear. Historical fiction can often not capture the emotions of the past. I think this book did.
Amanda Bynum
Jul 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I could MAYBE give two stars for the portions about the flood and its aftermath, but ultimately, there aren't a lot of redeeming qualities in either main character, and it all seemed very convenient. If you want historical fiction with tandem time and story lines done right, read The Eight by Katherine Neville instead.
Susan Morrissey
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I enjoy books that go from past to present with each chapter. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Mary Hogan's beautiful writing style made you wanting for more. Her descriptions were so accurate.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Giving up on page 109. I thought the writing was weak, plot moving slowly and I'm 110% I know where it's going. I very rarely give up on books but my pile to read is too long to spend on this book
Maureen DeLuca
more of a 3.5 stars. Interesting story- another historical fiction- good enough read for those who like this type of book !
Roberta Biallas
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-own
It's been a minute since I had a marathon reading session, but this one gave just cause. 'The Woman in the Photo' is a beautifully written work of fiction based on a horrific fact: the Johnstown Flood in western Pennsylvania in 1889.

Books with literary devices are fascinating to me. The idea of parallel stories in different times has been used by many different authors over the years, some more successfully that others. Mary Hogan's work in this novel goes in the Winner's Circle. Not only does
Solid story. Didn't go as deep as it could have, and spent more time on sidelines than I would have liked, but quick and enjoyable overall.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
So good! I love historical fiction because it’s an opportunity to learn about something new. Now I know more about the Johnstown Flood and Clara Barton! Great read.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the story of the flood so much more in the context of the complexities of of the classes.
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