The Girl In The Triangle
Amaryllis Press (2021)
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews for Reader Views (07/2021)
“The Girl In The Triangle” is a beautifully written, thought-provoking novel based on the tragic event of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that occurred on Saturday, March 25th, 1911. The story is about a young woman of Jewish descent, Ruth. Ruth was betrothed to Abraham, a Jew as well, while her family and his lived in St Petersburg, Russia. Political upheavals in Russia led Abraham, his father, and Ruth’s father, Tatty, to leave for America to look for better work opportunities.
Soon after, Ruth and her family members immigrate to America after going through anti-Semitism, poverty, and a disastrous revolution. She reunites with her former flame, Abraham, and soon after, begins working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in Manhattan, much to the disapproval of her father, a staunch Jew. Cracks become evident in Abraham and Ruth’s relationship as Ruth becomes entangled in the newfound freedom and excitement of being in America. She later experiences and learns of the exploitation happening in her workplace. This prompts her to join female activists in their fight for better working conditions in factories, better wages, and reasonable working hours. The cost of freedom is always high. As one reads through this book, one inevitably wonders, what is at stake for Ruth as she fights for the rights of workers? Will her engagement to Abraham weather the storm of the visible transition in Ruth? Will Ruth’s sister finally find her niche in the new environment?
This is the story of one woman’s bravery to tell her story and to stand up for what she believes to be fair and true. It is a tale of amazing courage about the women who organized and participated in the 1909 strike to seek change. “A Girl In The Triangle” is an incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and revealing book. The writing is strong, and the author uses it to lure the reader into the psyche of the protagonist. The story is a classic case of the variance between traditionalism and modernism. For Ruth, traditional values were chains that restricted both individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness while in contrast, Ruth’s family had a deep respect for long-held cultural and religious values.
Author Joyana does a remarkable job interweaving a work of fiction around real events from history. I particularly enjoyed the way the minor characters and major characters were intermingled into the storyline and became fully invested in the story’s inner depth. It is evident the writer did her research before writing this book. Her occasional insertion of Jewish terms, made the story not only enjoyable but tenable as well.
Being a debut novel by the Long-Island-born author, she has outshone herself. Admittedly, this was a masterpiece. The conversations among the characters led me to give this book 5 stars. They are raw and eye-opening even as the story buds. “The Girl In The Triangle” by Joyana Peters is simply a delight to read and will automatically tick the boxes of fans of historical fiction.