Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Two-Family House, by Lynda Cohen Loigman {ends 4/15}

This night was different. Never before had she seen such longing, pain and relief braided together more tightly. Two mothers, two babies, born only minutes apart. She had witnessed tonight what pure woman strength could accomplish, how the mind could control the body out of absolute desperation.

...
She breathed in the air again, crisp and cold, clearing her head. It ahd been a good night, two healthy babies born to healthy, capable mothers. She couldn't ask for more. What happened now was out of her hands. Wholly and completely she put it out of her mind, said her goodbyes to the house on the steps and made her way home to go to sleep. There would be more babies tomorrow, she knew, and the constancy of her work would keep her thoughts from this place. She promised herself never to think of it again.

This novel was more interesting than I thought it would be, partially because of a twist near the end of the book that I didn't see coming. In a Q&A, the author says that some readers may have already figured it out; however, it blindsided me at the time, although makes more sense now, that I've had time to reflect on it.

Official synopsis:
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.

Rose and her husband, Mort, live in the first floor apartment of a house that Mort owns with his brother, Abe; Abe and Helen, his wife, live on the second floor. Mort and Rose have three girls, and Abe and Helen have four boys. When both Rose and Helen get pregnant around the same time, they are overjoyed, since the two soon-to-be born cousins will be around the same age. 

Soon, Natalie and Teddy are born, and are blessings to both of their parents - Rose has never raised a boy before, Mort had really wanted a boy too, and Helen is glad to have a girl in the household. However, a tragic accident many years later changes everything, and it stretches Rose and Helen's friendship - already very thin - to the breaking point. 

My family and I are from the East Coast originally, and I always lament the fact that we now live in the Midwest, and rarely see our relatives. That being said, I can't imagine living under the same roof as them, although my mom told me that she lived in a triple-decker with her grandparents, in Boston, when growing up - my mom and her family lived on the 2nd floor apartment, and her grandparents lived below them. 

Living in the same house as your cousins would definitely promote closeness between the two families, which is probably originally what Abe and Mort wanted - Abe and Mort work together too, in the family business - but eventually it drives a wedge between them, or at least between Rose and her sister-in-law, Helen. 

I found The Two-Family House to be a fun read, although it's a little different than most of the books I usually read. The novel follows the two families as the children grow up (at the close of the novel, Rose's oldest child, Judith, is in her late 20's, I believe), and various secrets are revealed near the end of the book. I was also surprised to learn that this is the author's debut novel, as it was written very well and was an easy read; I look forward to reading more by Lynda Cohen Loigman in the future.

4 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

GIVEAWAY:

I have two hardcover copies of this book for my readers to win!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, April 15th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen. 

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Two-Family House

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