Hands of Gold: One Man’s Quest to Find The Silver Lining In Misfortune by Roni Robbins is a gem. The novel follows the story of Shimshon “Samuel” Fox and how he chased the silver lining even when his life was filled with desperate times that could make grown men cry. Sam’s journey began in 1905 in a village called Jacovo, Hungary. Sam had 12 siblings who all chased dreams and desires while they fought antisemitism. Wanting something more from life, he planned to get to America, but on his second try, he landed in Montreal, Canada where his life truly began. Meeting pretty Hannah Stein was like all his dreams come true. They get married, move to New York, and raise a family. However, that was also when their real troubles began. Borderline poverty, labor union reforms, feeding little mouths, and fighting for their lives, Sam and Hannah made it through. This was their journey, and now the author has shared it with the world.
Sam’s journey was unique, humble, and believable, maybe because it was based on author Roni Robbins’ grandfather and grandmother. Sam was an ambitious man who knew what he wanted in life, and he worked harder and harder to achieve what he wanted. I could feel the love, respect, and adoration Roni had for her grandparents (especially her grandfather). He achieved a lot in his life, but he suffered as well. While his journey to America was hard, his health issues, keeping his religion alive in a strange country, focusing on providing for his family, and ensuring everyone was warm at night were his biggest struggles. It was funny when Sam struggled to understand the professions his children took up, but he accepted with a resignation only our parents can. The narrative was realistic; it felt like a conversation between friends and made me feel like I knew Sam personally. Hands of Gold is a wonderful depiction of an immigrant’s journey to a new life!