Sophie and Rose’s parents moved them from Russia to Toronto in the 1920s to make a better life for their family and avoid the terrible anti-Semitism of the time. In 1931, when Sophie is 14 and Rose is 16, their father has died, their mother is sick and homebound and they are both working in a sweatshop. The girls join the newly spreading International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union in Toronto along with the other workers in their factory, and go on strike. Dublin tells of the awful working conditions and terrible poverty, including lack of medical care and proper clothing that this family and others encounter during this time. To make matters worse, Rose is imprisoned and used as an example to the other workers by being placed in a high security prison.
While all this is unfolding, Sophie makes a friend. He is enamored of her, and she finds him quite intriguing however he is not Jewish. They keep their budding romance a secret as long as they can – until Rose discovers it after her release from prison. Historical events and characters are woven in among the fictional characters providing a context for the events that unfold. The story is fraught with difficult decisions that no young person should have to make, but it provides interesting historical insights for the youth of today.
Recommended for ages 11 – 15.