The Top 5 Books Of 2016

One of my great pleasures in life is reading. I’ve read many books this year. Some were excellent, some were good and some I wanted to throw at the wall, they were so bad.

The list below are the five best books from 2016.

 

  1. Karolina’s Twins: Lena Woodward is an elderly widow who survived the Nazi Holocaust. She approaches the husband and wife team of private investigator Liam Taggert and lawyer Catherine Lockhart. Her childhood best friend, Karolina died during the war, but not before asking Lena to ensure that her children survived.This book is a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale of faith, friendship and a dying mother’s last wish for the children she will never see grow up.
  2. The Princess Diarist: Hindsight is always 20/20. I finished reading this book just before Christmas. The heartbreaking loss of Carrie Fisher earlier this week adds a new level of poignancy to the experience. In revisiting her experience while making Episode 4 of Star Wars (and having a brief affair with Harrison Ford in process), the reader is taken not just back in time, but into the mind of one of the most brilliant performers and writers of recent memory.
  3. Victoria: Daisy Goodwin’s brilliant fictionalized tale of the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign is remarkable.  What kept me reading was not her status and her title, but that she was a human being and an 18-year-old girl who is starting to grow up and grow into the Queen Victoria we think of today.
  4. Modern Girls: Set in New York City in the 1930’s, it is the tale of a mother daughter duo who find themselves pregnant at the same time. Approaching her 40’s, Rose has had 5 children. She thinks her days bringing children into the world are over. Rose’s daughter, Dottie has it all. A solid career, a bright future and a boyfriend she is ready to marry. Then she gets pregnant and not by her boyfriend. If the sign of a good book is wanting a sequel, then this is a really good book.
  5. The Two Family House: The Berman brothers, Abe not only work together, but live in the same two family house. Their wives, Rose and Helen are as close as sisters. Then they get pregnant at the same time. After the babies are born, the relationship between Rose and Helen is never the same. Soon the rift between the women begins to affect the whole family.

Here’s to the good books from 2016 and the books to be read in 2017.

The Two Family House Book Review

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.

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