Sometimes, the relationship we have with our sibling is a complicated one. Just because we came out of the same womb and have the same parents does mean that we are close to our siblings.
In the new book, The Wartime Sisters: A Novel, by Lynda Cohen Loigman, Ruth and Millie are sisters from Brooklyn in New York City. But they don’t always see eye to eye or get along. Ruth is quiet and bookish. Millie is outgoing and popular. Labelled by their parents and the community around them, both internally resent each other for the treatment they receive. As adults, their relationship is fragile, seething with unspoken emotions.
While World War II rages on, Ruth lives with her officer husband and children in Massachusetts. When tragedy strikes and Millie has nowhere else to go, she travels to Massachusetts with her young son to live with Ruth’s family. With the sisters living in close quarters, old tensions rise to the surface as new faces challenge both Ruth and Millie.
This book is amazing. The sisters are clearly drawn, allowing the reader to empathize with both Ruth and Millie. The world around them is equally drawn in a way that pulls the reader in and does not let go until the final page.
I absolutely recommend it.
Family, at the very least is complicated.
The Bermans are no exception.
In Lynda Cohen Loigman’s new novel, The Two Family House, brothers Abe and Mort Berman not only live together, but work together in post World War II Brooklyn. They own a company called The Box Brothers and share a two family house. Abe, the older of the two brothers lives with his outgoing, gregarious wife Helen and their four boys. Mort, the younger brother lives with his demure, retiring wife Rose and their three daughters. Both Rose and Helen are expecting another child.
The babies are born during the North American Blizzard of 1947, the worst blizzard to hit New York City since 1888. Rose has a son named Teddy and Helen has a daughter named Natalie. For some reason, the relationship between Helen and Rose, which was once more sister like than sister-in-law like starts to fray to the point where it affects the whole family. When an unthinkable loss shakes up the family, only the reveal of a decades long secret can bring the Bermans back together.
This book is so good that I missed my train stop while reading it. This family felt very real to me. We all have families that are good, bad or otherwise. The best books are the ones that have a universal narrative or character that the reader can relate to, regardless of whether or they know something of the world that the characters live in. This is one of them.
I recommend it.