Title: The Two-Family House
Author: Lynda Cohen Loigman
Expected Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pre-order: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble
Summary: 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.
A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy for reviewing.
Brothers Mort and Abe live in a single two-family brownstone with their wives, Rose and Helen, and their children in 1940s Brooklyn. The men couldn’t be more different from each other; the younger Mort is unsatisfied with his life while his older brother Abe is boisterous and admired by many. The story’s focus shifts when Rose and Helen have simultaneous pregnancies and go through everything together, including the birth of their children.
While the synopsis pegs this as a mystery, the twist actually becomes quite clear about halfway through the story. I was a little disappointed to have figured it out that early on. But that’s not to say it ever deterred my enjoyment of the entire narrative. The writing was exceptionally well-done; there’s emotion and heart at the very center of it all, and that for me personally made the story more enjoyable than the mystery aspect.
I really appreciated the familial aspect of the book, and I found that the most interesting thing in the novel was the relationship between Rose and Helen and the contrast alongside Mort’s changing relationship with Abe. The changes in all of these characters affected their relationships with everyone in the family, and their progression, particularly Mort’s, was fleshed out in such a poignant manner.
While it wasn’t as heavy and complex as I expected gong into it, I found the book very enjoyable in terms of the family dynamics and the breakdown of human relationships. Loigman really knows how to paint a picture with her words and make characters come to life; they’re relatable and real.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is now a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives with her husband and two children in New York. She is a failure at enforcing reasonable bedtimes. THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE is her first novel. (via Goodreads)