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The Strongman And The Mermaid
The Strongman And The Mermaid

The Strongman And The Mermaid


4.30 (491 ratings)

2019 Donora, Pennsylvania
Ninety-one-year-old Patryk Rusek hides in his attic, hoping the searchers think he’s escaped. When Lucy finally bursts in, she discovers her beloved grandfather clutching a fat, hand-illustrated, antique book. In it is the story of Donora, the town that shaped America, its people and Patryk himself. Before long, Lucy and her son Owen lose track of their goal to get Grandpa Patryk somewhere “safe” as they’re drawn into the book, back in time, into stories that read like real-life fairytales born of purpose, hard-work, and chance.

1910 Donora, Pennsylvania
In the early dawn of Donora, Pennsylvania, the mills make and shape the steel that builds America. Mary Lancos lives in a home on the hill overlooking town and its mighty Monongahela River. That tiny house bursts with her siblings and boarders. Wind whipping through the walls and windows makes Mary determined to marry well and create a better life.

Shy Pole, Lukasz Musial, arrives in Donora seeking the clear blue skies, green lawns, and better life he’d seen pictured on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill. Life is set on course to achieve the American Dream. All he needs is a wife who believes in him, in his mighty, quiet, strength.
After a series of casual, friendly meetings, fate brings Mary and Lukasz to the river under a snowy, pink moonlit sky and everything changes. Their attraction is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents she and Lukasz must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.


carol coleman

Great read.

The Schoolmarm
Mary and Lukasz Musial ‘- A Love Story

A true love story of a sports hero’s parents. ‘Stan the Man’ Musial came into the world from the unlikely pairing of an immigrant man of short stature from Poland, and an almost six foot tall 16 year old girl immigrated from Czechoslovakia named Mary. Beautifully written by the author Kathleen Shoop.

Bichon Mom
A story of struggle and romance based in reality

If you get tired of reading historical romantic novels where the heroine is drop dead gorgeous and the hero is tall, dark and breathtakingly handsome, you will appreciate this story.

The setting is the early 1900s in Western Pennsylvania where steel production is king. The immigrants who come to this country are full of hope and optimism that if they work hard they can achieve the American dream of a home and enough money to support a family. Lukasz Musial is such a person and it is easy for a reader to empathize with his struggle.

The descriptions of both the people and their attitudes are spot on. The dialogue and actions ring true. I was born mid-century in this area and spent a few years as a third generation steel mill worker. From grandparents on both sides, I remember various tales that are wonderfully depicted in this book where family and ethnic ties are strong. Kathleen Shoop gives a vivid portrayal of life in that time and place.

I read the first book in the Donora Story Collection and enjoyed it so much that I wasted no time in reading this one. I’m looking forward to the publication of the third. This is a beautifully written and edited book and a fascinating historical novel.

It's a novel - or is it?

There is a lot of information in this book that correlates to a famous person in history. Historical fiction about real people sometimes makes you think those events really did happen to that person. A nice story, a bit predictable. It is the second in a series - maybe if I had read the first it would have been clearer.

Mrs. A.
An old fashion story

Lost interest in this book. Haven't found something to catch my interest yet.
Thank you again, Will keep on searching

A Novel for Readers of Eastern European Traditions

Enjoyed the plot and the characters, but if one is not interested in the traditions of the Czechs and the Polish, some of the dialogue, without translation, might be a problem. The novel provides insights into the PA mining and steel mill town before unions, fueled by immigrants working toward achieving the American Dream.

Diane Vescio
Great book

I really loved this book. 2nd in the series. Wished there was a 3rd!

Jane Kurz
A cute story of love & courage

This is a story about searching for true love that never changes through the ages. What was so special was how the author weaved the details of the current family members with what happened in 1910. The historical details were accurate and the sub plots keep the reader waiting for the next big event. We all need a few myths to keep meaning in our lives. Don’t skip this book.