The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

9781250140708_05103

Originally published in Library Journal, January 2019.

Loigman’s second novel follows Jewish sisters Ruth and Millie Kaplan from their childhood in Brooklyn to adulthood living at an armory base in Springfield, MA. The eldest by three years, Ruth is held to almost impossible standards, while Millie, with her striking looks and pleasing manner, gets away with most anything. Possible male suitors for Ruth always end up pursuing the younger, more beautiful Millie. After their parents die unexpectedly and Millie loses her husband, Lenny, the sisters end up together. Ruth’s husband, Arthur, is an army officer allowing Ruth a prestigious job in payroll, while Millie becomes a soldier of production in an armory factory. Resentment and jealousy intensify as Millie again becomes the beloved center of Ruth’s social circles. Then a stranger arrives and long-buried secrets are revealed, leaving the sisters a chance at a hopeful future. Unfolding in alternating points of view, Loigman provides a behind-the-scenes look at women fighting their own wars at home. Readers will enjoy the heartfelt picture of women’s daily life during wartime through the eyes of two unique, extraordinary sisters. VERDICT: Recommended for historical fiction fans of Pam Jenoff and Kate Morton.

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Don’t Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh

I enjoyed this modern day spin on Pride & Prejudice. It takes place in London, so it has the British quirkiness that I have come to love in a story. I would place Marianne Kavanagh in a similar category as authors JoJo Moyes and Sophie Kinsella.

Eva and Kim are sisters living together, but on their own without parents since they were in their late teens. Their selfish and arrogant father left them for Jia, a younger wife with whom he now has two little boys. Grace, their selfish mother, left them for Jean Luc and his Parisian estate. Kim and Eva are close, and when Eva’s friend Harry becomes part of the picture, Kim starts to feel like a third wheel and get left out of much of Eva’s daily life. Harry is handsome, rich, and a charmer. Women fall all over themselves for Harry, including Eva and Kim’s friends Damaris and Izzie. Kim can’t understand because she finds Harry, a banker, to be flashy, arrogant, and insensitive. She doesn’t give him much chance to change her mind, and decides that she will go on hating him, even though she has to be around him all the time. Harry doesn’t understand why Kim hates him, so he deals with her in a joking manner, which fuels her anger and resentment toward him. Kim assumes that Harry is Eva’s lover and therefore the father of her young son, Otis, as well. One would think Harry is the father, especially because he pays for the flat where Eva and Otis live. He offers to help Kim, but her pride and vendetta towards Harry prevent her from accepting.

The story follows Kim, Eva, and Harry through the years as they travel and move from place to place, Harry ending up in New York for a time and Eva living in various communities around the world. When a few successive tragedies strike the group, Kim finds herself unable to escape Harry and his kind demeanor and offer of assistance. Will she let go of the feelings she has been harboring for years? I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, because I wanted more from the characters, mainly from Kim and Harry. However, the author didn’t tie up the ending in a neat little bow. There is quite a bit of heartache in the novel, but selflessness and love can be found as well from Damaris’s mother Christine, and Harry with his relationship toward Ethan, a young boy at the gym where Harry goes for boxing.

I would suggest this book for fans of general fiction, comedy, and/or romance. It’s quirky, witty, and fun.