You can learn a lot about a particular neighborhood from its residents.
Kitty Zeldis‘s new novel (published last month), The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights: A Novel, takes place in 1924. Three different women reside in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights.
Catherine is happily married. The one thing that would make her life complete is a child. But for all of her hoping and praying, conceiving and birthing new life is impossible. In another life, Beatrice was a Jewish immigrant who left Russia when everyone and everything she knew was taken from her. Landing in New Orleans, she hoped to leave the past behind. Alice is an orphan who has become Beatrice’s assistant/hopeful surrogate daughter. While she has talent, she is also young and naive.
After Catherine walks into Beatrice’s shop looking for new attire, the women become friends. Feeling pushed aside, Alice runs away to Manhattan. Her decision will force all three of them to reveal secrets that they would prefer to remain hidden.
As she did in her first book, Zeldis explores issues of class, money, and religion. What I liked was that each of her three protagonists can stand on their own two feet. And yet, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways.
The problem is that something is missing. I can’t put my finger on it, but it is not as good as her previous narrative.
Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.
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