Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Two-Family House: A Novel 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."

This is the story of Helen and Rose, sisters-in-law and best friends raising their families and sharing their lives together. Helen has the upstairs apartment with her husband Abe and is raising a house full of boys.

Rose has the downstairs with her husband Mort and their daughters.
This struck a chord with me, as when my husband and I were first married we lived for 5 years in a 2 family house and had the upstairs. Downstairs were my parents and sisters. I felt the author quite accurately portrayed the feeling of being one big happy family and yet still wanting your own space with your own family.

Though Abe and Mort are brothers they are very different and not as close as Helen and Rose. They own a business together and work together each day but don't share much else in common. Their approach to raising children is quite different, their marriages are quite different, Mort is more cold and less demonstrative, sometimes cruel. Abe is more warm and affectionate. Rose often feels that things would be different if she had born a son instead of only daughters... Helen sometimes feels overwhelmed with her house full of boisterous boys and wishes she had a daughter to talk and laugh and share with, but they each try to make the best of things in their own way, and they could not love each other more if they were sisters by blood and not only marriage.

Sadly, choices that they make leads to a rift in their relationship. Things they thought they could live with become impossible to bear. Tragedy tears them further apart. I don't want to give away too much, but I truly felt for these characters, I sympathized, I empathized and I felt their heartbreak.
I am impressed with author Lynda Cohen Loigman and will most definitely be keeping an eye out for her future work.

I received an advance copy for review.

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