The Light of Luna Park (Paperback)
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In the spirit of The Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours, a historical debut about a nurse who chooses to save a baby's life, and risks her own in the process, exploring the ties of motherhood and the little-known history of Coney Island and America's first incubators.
A nurse's choice. A daughter's search for answers.
New York City, 1926. Nurse Althea Anderson's heart is near breaking when she witnesses another premature baby die at Bellevue Hospital. So when she reads an article detailing the amazing survival rates of babies treated in incubators in an exhibit at Luna Park, Coney Island, it feels like the miracle she has been searching for. But the doctors at Bellevue dismiss Althea and this unconventional medicine, forcing her to make a choice between a baby's life and the doctors' wishes that will change everything.
Twenty-five years later, Stella Wright is falling apart. Her mother has just passed, she quit a job she loves, and her marriage is struggling. Then she discovers a letter that brings into question everything she knew about her mother, and everything she knows about herself.
The Light of Luna Park is a tale of courage and an ode to the sacrificial love of mothers.
About the Author
Addison Armstrong graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2020 with degrees in Elementary Education and Language and Literacy Studies. She is currently living in Nashville, TN working with students and obtaining her Master's degree in Reading Education. The Light of Luna Park is her debut novel.
Advance Praise for The Light of Luna Park
“Moving…For fans of Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls and Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars… Armstrong highlights the novelty, frustration, and strength of rebellious action behind a medical marvel we take for granted today.” —Library Journal
“Is there anything better than falling into a novel that asks an ethical question and then answers it with a big story that arrows straight into the question's heart? No, I would say: Nothing better. What would you do to save a child? Addison Armstrong asks in this assured debut that ushers us deep into a fascinating moment in history where obstetrics and women's choices and the shadow line between circus and science combine. The Light of Luna Park got me, took me, taught me, and in the end, shook me.”—Sarah Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Book
"A dual timeline, a fascinating historical setting, a baby, a nurse and above all, courage. This is my kind of story! Thank you, Addison Armstrong, for writing such an intriguing and heartfelt novel.” —Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of Big Lies in a Small Town
“A romantic yet historically evocative depiction of two pioneering women’s intertwined lives.” —Kirkus
“Armstrong’s impressive debut chronicles the parallel stories of two strong women who are unafraid to risk their careers to do what’s right....Emotionally powerful. Readers will be touched by this story of courage and love.” —Publishers Weekly
“Armstrong mines a fascinating bit of history… A novel guaranteed to tug at heartstrings while illuminating a daring medical innovation that has saved millions of lives.” —Booklist
“Armstrong’s dual-timeline debut packs a powerful emotional punch…The emotional investment in the two protagonists will keep readers eagerly turning pages. Recommended for all readers, but especially for those who love someone who doesn’t meet society’s definition of ‘worthy.’” —Historical Novel Review
“Armstrong has a strong subject here and wonderful characters whom every reader will admire and care for...Bravo to Addison Armstrong for such a beautiful and heartfelt paean to those in the medical world who used their talents and abilities to change the lives of people for good.” —Bookreporter
“At once a fascinating slice of history and a compelling story filled with relatable characters. Addison Armstrong has woven a beautiful tale around the sacrifices and hard choices made for love, and highlights the work of the extraordinary individuals who stood up against the widespread, harsh beliefs of the time. This is a wonderful debut. Congratulations to Ms. Armstrong!” —Louise Fein, author of Daughter of the Reich
“Compassionate and evocative, filled with fascinating historical detail, The Light of Luna Park is the story of a woman finding the strength to face impossible decisions as she struggles to protect the life of a child.” —Fiona Valpy, author of The Dressmaker’s Gift
“The Light of Luna Park is a gripping story of one woman’s determination to save a premature baby and a daughter’s quest to discover the truth about her mother intertwined with the fascinating history of the incubator. It’s an emotional, and at times suspenseful novel about the strength of love and the importance of perseverance that will capture the reader’s heart.” —Georgie Blalock, author of The Other Windsor Girl
“In The Light of Luna Park, author Addison Armstrong re-creates the surreal time when most pre-term babies were cast aside to die, while a few dedicated nurses and a doctor on Coney Island saved them, then offered them as an amusement park sideshow. It’s a story of a grieving daughter-a teacher of special needs children-who must first unravel her own story by uncovering family secrets, before she can understand and fully love herself, her husband, and her students. Taking place over twenty years apart, these two stories collide in an unforgettable, heart-wrenching account of the power of a mother’s love.” —Tracey Enerson Wood, author of international bestseller, The Engineer’s Wife