When the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls burns down, Katie is sent off into the world, with little more than the clothes on her back, and a few small possessions. She is also given an old newspaper clipping of a photograph taken at least fifteen years before by the woman who runs the orphanage in Canada. Katie knows nothing about the parents who gave her up when she was an infant, but she is sure this newspaper clipping can’t have anything to do with her. In fact, she almost throws it away.
Katie dreams of becoming a big time newspaper journalist. Her only problem – it is the 1960s and making it as a woman journalist is a difficult proposition. When Katie gets turned down and told she would need to have a great story to get a good job, she decides to investigate the newspaper clipping – hoping it will lead her to a great story. It leads her to an old murder, and to the grave of the supposed murderer. However, as Katie begins to question events of the past in this sleepy little Indiana town, people get worried Katie is turning over secrets best left alone.
My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock is some of her finest writing. As always, McClintock is a master at drawing the reader in and weaving complex themes and ideas into a fabulous, accessible story that will have you turning pages as fast as you can. While the story is set close to sixty years in the past, current events will show you how much and how little has changed.
Recommended for 7th grade and up. A truly remarkable book and a great mystery.