The Two-Family House *I received an ARC of this bookfrom The Reading Room*
By: Lynda Cohen Loigman
Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.
From debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman comes The Two-Family House, a moving family saga filled with heart, emotion, longing, love, and mystery.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this book before reading it. I had no idea what it was about, and whenever I read the summary on the back, I was still not sure if it would be a book worth reading. I’m glad I was wrong. This book was brilliantly written and filled with emotion, events both tragic, and non-tragic, and characters that felt like real people, instead of fictional characters. I felt something special for every single character, which was odd because going into this book, they seemed two-dimensional and boring, but that is only because what happened before this book was two-dimensional and boring. But the contents of the book had me staggering and hanging on to every last word. Let me just say I was sad it ended.
The only downside to this novel I could find, that I needed more of was the world surrounding these characters. Although this takes place over the course of 20+ years, the world didn’t alter as much as I would have liked it to. The characters changed, but the world was barely even explored, which I found upsetting. The only thing that drew me into this book was the fact that it was a historical novel that takes place in 1947 Brooklyn (a similar time to one of my favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn).
My favorite thing about this book was the character development. It was subtle and handled masterfully. You would think that Loigman had written a large collection of novels based just on the characters she crafted. On the outside, the characters seemed plain and simple, but over the course of the novel (years in their world), we are able to figure out exactly who those people are and their motives behind what they do. There is no villain or scheme in this novel, no, but there are conflicts and situations that will have you shifting uncomfortably in your seat. I can guarantee you that. My favorite characters in the book are Abe, Teddy *tear*, Judith, Helen, Natalie, and Mort (which surprised me).
The plot was a little bit mixed up, but it flowed in a way that showed how life is. I do wish, however, that the author spent more time in each year, month, or day, so that the readers were able to feel like part of the family. I felt disconnected at parts, which I don’t like in a book (especially a realistic fiction). And there wasn’t much of a climax, unless you include the death of one of the members of the family (I will not say who because I will leave you with suspense:). Overall it was a good book and I am looking forward to future work by the author.
Let me know what you think in the comments!