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.
My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
Change sometimes comes from someone who we least expect.
Kitty Zeldis’s new novel, Not Our Kind: A Novel, was published this year. Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy both live in New York City just after the end of World War II, but their worlds are vastly different. Eleanor is a first generation American, the daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. In spite of the antisemitism she experienced, Eleanor persevered in receiving a quality education and entering the workforce. Patricia Bellamy is an upper middle class WASP whose daughter is recovering from Polio and desperately needs a private tutor to ensure that her child is educated.
Fate bring them together during a minor car accident. Eleanor needs a job and Patricia needs to hire a new tutor for her daughter ASAP. Though Eleanor gets along well with Patricia as her employer and Margeaux as her student, not everything is peachy keen. Eleanor must hide her identity via an alternative surname so she can go to work. Then there is Patricia’s husband, Wynn, who may be suspicious of Eleanor because of her faith. On top of all that, there is romance between Eleanor and Patricia’s brother, Tom.
This powder keg of emotion and drama is set off by one night at the Bellamy’s summer-house in Connecticut. The explosion that occurs that night will force both women to make difficult decisions that will impact their lives for years to come.
I truly loved this book. Not only was I immediately sucked into this world, but I understood how both Eleanor and Patricia saw the world. The details were fantastic. The ending was enough to tie the narrative threats together while not not being predictable.