So many classic novels take place in NY, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn… and great stories of old New York conjure up warm feelings rich in history and nostalgia. A few of my recent favorite fictional reads, all by fabulous debut authors showcase New York and the people that lived there. These are their stories…
￼The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman takes place in 1947 where two Jewish brothers and their families live together in a brownstone in Brooklyn, NY. The wives are deeply bonded friends, and both give birth the same night during a blizzard. This rich family drama is laced with tradition, love, heartbreak, tragedy and choices. Forbidden secrets and multidimensional characters make The Two Family House a compelling page turner!
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis alternates between 1952 and today. The story takes place at The Barbizon Hotel located on the upper East side of Manhattan on 63rd and Lexington. It takes us to cafes and Jazz clubs, Brooklyn and Harlem, explores a scandal, a love story and a mystery. This book was a treat for me because my mother actually lived at the Barbizon Hotel and worked at Saks 5th Avenue while her roommate attended secretarial school…very similar to the characters in the book. The Dollhouse is about strong women, past and present New York, and is a fast paced, fun read!
Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown is set in 1935 NYC, the lower east side Jewish immigrant community. The story is about a nice jewish girl who lives at home with her family and works as a bookkeeper in midtown Manhattan. Her Yiddish speaking mother, after having five children, is ready to get back to her old self and to her social activism, and as unlikely as it seems, both women find themselves pregnant. They are faced with some critical decisions and are forced to confront their feelings and beliefs. The mother daughter relationship, their individual perspectives and struggle for independence makes Modern Girls an emotional read!
And if you are forced to take a short break from fantastic, captivating novels by talented, exciting and fresh new authors (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and are looking to laugh, go behind the scenes, relive some memories, yada yada yada…
Check out Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. If you enjoy this, read Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The May Tyler Moore Show a Classic, another great one from this TV historian and entertainment writer.