The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.
For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family's dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.
At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
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Behind the Story
For the characters in this story, their journey all started with a picture—and the same can rightly be said of my endeavor to write this book. When I first stumbled upon an old newspaper photograph of four young siblings huddled on the steps of an apartment building, their mother shielding her face from the camera, the sign in the foreground stunned me.
4 CHILDREN FOR SALE, it read. INQUIRE WITHIN.
The photo had first appeared in The Vidette-Messenger in 1948 and, in a brief caption, claimed to exhibit the desperation of a family in Chicago. As a mom myself, I wondered what could have possibly pushed a parent to that point. In the direst of times, I could fathom perhaps having to give up my children for the sake of their well-being. But why on earth ask for money in return? Possible answers to that question soon became the foundation of Sold on a Monday.
"A vivid and original story... McMorris brilliantly chronicles the way in which a moment's fateful choice can result in a lifetime of harrowing consequences. A masterpiece that poignantly echoes universal themes of loss and redemption, Sold on a Monday is both heartfelt and heartbreaking."
"The sale of two young children leads to devastating consequences in this historical tearjerker from McMorris... A tender love story enriches a complex plot, giving readers a story with grit, substance, and rich historical detail."
"[A] finely told, emotionally satisfying gem of a novel. McMorris handles the dual points of view confidently, and each decision made by the main characters is completely believable even as the secrets they share and uncover become more and more shocking."
"With her signature style, Kristina McMorris once again plucks a devastating heartstring. A real-life photograph stands as evidence to the heart of this novel: truth revealed, forgiveness found, and a story never to be forgotten."
"Despite the sensitivity of the subject of missing children, McMorris' latest is touching and never maudlin. This book may appeal to fans of Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours."
"A riveting tale that holds surprising resonance for today's news climate."
"Sold on a Monday is a stunningly moving novel that takes on the Great Depression and one man's struggle with honor, ambition, and unimaginable sacrifice. Kristina McMorris has crafted a true page-turner that you won't want to miss."
"McMorris shines in this poignant and compulsively readable novel... Based upon a haunting historical photograph, and told with finesse and compassion, this story will linger long after the pages have all been turned."