This classic novel chronicles a Jewish-American immigrant experience in the early twentieth century. The main character is Sonya, a Russian Jewish immigrant. She sets her sights on marrying John Manning, a philanthropic American millionaire who works with immigrants in the tenements. Sonya pulls out all stops to mask her identity and court the millionaire. Manning is captivated by the mystery of the woman, and they marry.
Upon marrying one another, however, things begin to fall apart. Manning's attempts to force Sonya into his exclusive aristocratic culture and his attempts to involve her in his philanthropic work reveal to Sonya that the true goals of his endeavors are to strip her people of all cultural identity. Sonya feels distraught and leaves him.
She goes back to her community and starts making her own way as a fashion designer. She makes clothing that affirms the identity of her immigrant community, and she makes sure that her clothing is affordable. Eventually, Manning returns to her, in despair at his loss of her. Unmoved, she makes a final break with him.
This report prepared by J.C. Pierce