Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Wartime Sisters

Welcome!  It is the last day of January.  This month whizzed by so quickly.  The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry comes out tomorrow in ebook (paperback is already available to purchase).  A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty Neale releases on February 21 along with Courage of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell.

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman begins its tale in Brooklyn, New York in 1919.  Ruth Kaplan was three years old when her younger sister, Millie was born. Ruth is a plain little girl with brown hair while Millie has red hair with bright blue eyes which everyone admired.  The girls are complete opposites with Millie being vibrant and popular while Ruth is quiet and studious.  Ruth is expected to tow the line, but Millie is catered to with excuses being made if she stepped out of line.  After their parents pass away, Millie marries Lenny Fein and continues to live in Brooklyn.  Ruth married Arthur Blum whose scientific mind is needed to aid the war and they move away to Springfield, Massachusetts.  In the spring of 1942, Millie writes that her husband has passed away leaving her with two year old, Michael to care for on her own.  Ruth offers Millie a place to live and assures her that she can get a job at the Springfield Armory.  The two estranged sisters are struggling to get along making for a house filled with tension.  Lillian Walsh, the commanding officer’s wife, takes a shine to Millie and helps her settle into her new life.  Millie also makes friends with Arietta Benevetto, the Armory cook with a beautiful singing voice.  One officer’s wife is unhappy with Millie’s lovely presence.  Ruth is unhappy that the life she built for herself has been upended and she is afraid a secret will come to light.  Millie has a skeleton in the closet that she desperately wants to keep concealed.  Unfortunately, like all secrets, they always find a way of coming out. 
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The Wartime Sisters is a traditional story about two sisters who fail to get along (sounds like me and my sister).  It is more a women’s fiction novel than a historical book.  The focus of the book is the two sisters and their rivalry.  The author accurately captured the dynamics between the sisters along with the feelings (resentment, bitterness, jealousy, the feeling of inadequacy).  Ruth was jealous of Millie from the moment she was born.  The more people admired Millie, the more Ruth’s resentment grew.  Matters are not helped by the mother doting on Millie and her insistence that Millie will marry well one day.  When Ruth starts dating and the men are more captivated by Millie, it causes the rift between the sisters to grow to the size of the grand canyon.  Each sister has a secret and you know they will eventually find a way to come out.  I liked the setting of the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, but we are not told enough about it.  I wanted more about the facility, the war, and the less about the animosity between the sisters.  Rivalry also exists between women in such a close atmosphere as the armory.  The ending felt rushed.  I thought it lacked emotion and realism.  It seemed that this story could have been set in any place or any time period and it would still play out the same way.  I found The Wartime Sisters to be lacking (at least for me).  I thought it was a predictable story.  My rating for The Wartime Sisters is 3 out of 5 stars.  While The Wartime Sisters was not my cup of tea, those who enjoy feel-good stories (like those on Lifetime or Hallmark Channel) will enjoy the happy ending.

I am sharing the cover for Hetty's Secret War by Rosie Clarke tomorrow which will come out on March 19 (I will feature on March 22).  It is the third novel in Women at War series.  I hope you have an amusing day (laughter is good for the soul).  Keep warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 

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