In 1911 New York, sixteen-year-old Essie Rosenfeld must stop taking care of her irrepressible six-year-old sister when she goes to work at the Triangle Waist Company, where she befriends a missing heiress who is in hiding from her family and who seems to understand the feelings of heartache and grief that Essie is trying desperately to escape.
"It's like if you're on a street corner and someone next to you says, "I lost a penny," you would take a look around and do your best to help find it. Sure, you would. But if someone on that same corner says, "I lost a diamond ring," you would get down on your hands and knees and search 'til the sun went down. And the next day, you'd come back and start looking all over again. And then every time you passed that corner, you'd think to yourself, "I wonder if they ever found that diamond ring," and I bet your eyes would wander to the ground and have another look. For years and years." (p138)
is a woman who has taken a wrong turn in life. Why else would an
educated, well-dressed, clearly upper-crust girl end up in the
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory setting sleeves for six dollars a day? But Harriet
isn't the only one who is
of her love for the young would-be lawyer who lives next door and
her hatred for her mother who seems determined to take away every bit
of happiness that Essie hopes to find. As the unlikely friendship between
Essie and Harriet grows, so does the weight of the question hanging
between them: Who is lost? And who will be found?