Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born, minutes apart. The mothers are sisters by marriage: dutiful, quiet Rose, who wants nothing more than to please her difficult husband; and warm, generous Helen, the exhausted mother of four rambunctious boys who seem to need her less and less each day.Read more...
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Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born, minutes apart. The mothers are sisters by marriage: dutiful, quiet Rose, who wants nothing more than to please her difficult husband; and warm, generous Helen, the exhausted mother of four rambunctious boys who seem to need her less and less each day. Raising their families side by side, supporting one another, Rose and Helen share an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic winter night.
When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost, but not quite, wins. Moving and evocative, Lynda Cohen Loigman's debut novel "The Two-Family House" is a heart-wrenching, gripping multigenerational story, woven around the deepest of secrets.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Loigman debut novel is an engrossing family saga set in post-war Brooklyn. It focuses on two families that are inextricably linked by blood, marriage, and a long-held secret. Brothers Abe and Mort took over their family box business when their father died, even though Mort had his heart set on studying mathematics. The brothers share a two-family house with their children and wives. As the story opens in 1947, wives Rose and Helen are themselves as close as sisters, happily bringing up their children together. Rose and Mort have three young daughters, and Helen and Abe, on the top floor, are bringing up four sons. Then, the two women get pregnant at the same time, deliver their babies together during a horrible blizzard, and make an instant decision to swap the babies that will change all of their lives forever. The story follows the brothers, their wives, and the children through decades. Loigman's use of shifting perspectives allows readers to witness first-hand the growing consequences of long-festering secrets and the insidious lies that cover them up. This historical family drama has a dark underbelly, but Loigman's decision to let the reader in on the secret allows the setting and mood of the novel take over as the characters move haltingly toward redemption and peace. Agent: Kathleen Zrelak, Goldberg McDuffie Communications. (Mar.)