The idea for this thriller came during my search for ancestors. When I learned that my great-grandfather, Christian Nielsen, spent much of his life in an insane asylum in Wisconsin, my mind raced. How did this young man hoping for a new beginning in America end up "criminally insane?" What was he like when he stepped off the ship from Copenhagen and how did he get by the strict medical examiners on Ellis Island? Coupled with family lore that my great-grandmother worked in the Danish royal palace before immigrating to America, it seemed a tantalizing mystery to unravel.
Summary: When Rikke Svendsen, a 15-year-old Danish servant arrives at Ellis Island in 1912, she realizes that a fellow passenger on her voyage across the Atlantic--whose advances she had spurned--is stalking her. In the chaos of immigration and trying to flee him, she gets stranded in New York City instead of being able to meet family in Racine, Wisconsin.
Relieved to have eluded the man, she finds work in the tenements as a seamstress for a film company and struggles to earn money for a train ticket north. Meanwhile, through letters and telegrams, she learns that mysterious accidents are befalling her loved ones in Racine with deadly results. As Rikke pieces together clues, frantic for her beloved Viggo, she seeks to unravel what or who is behind the terror.
** Awarded the GOLD MEDAL for Young Adult Mystery from Literary Classics.
** "An atmospheric confection that will thrill YA readers...Gregory achieves a realistic, rich atmosphere with insightful details about the immigration process and New York tenements in the early 1900s." - Kirkus Reviews