Initially, I was drawn to The Two-Family House because of its premise. My first novel, Garden of Lies, is also about babies switched at birth. How would another author handle it? Brilliantly, in the case of Lynda Cohen Loigman, I discovered. I loved this novel about two Jewish families, brothers and their wives and children who occupy a two-family house in Brooklyn in the 1950’s and whose lives are intertwined in more ways than expected.
Two sisters-in-law who live in a two-family house give birth on the same night. Rose had wanted to give her husband the son he longed for. Helen had wanted a daughter after four sons. Each woman gets what the other wished for. They secretly switch the babies, unbeknownst to anyone but the midwife. It’s a choice with untold consequences, one that haunts them and affects their relationship and their families in ways they couldn’t have anticipated.
I myself lived in two-family house in Brooklyn when I first moved to New York with my two children in the 1980’s. I learned most of what I know about Judaism from my Orthodox Jewish landlady, who became a close friend and on whom a character in my second novel is based. The Two-Family House vividly captures the setting and milieu. It’s a novel with a stunning deception its core, but ultimately it works because it’s well-written with sympathetic characters who come alive on the pages. I came to know and like them, even the sourpuss brother, Mort, who seems unlikable at first.
While I was reading The Two-Family House the quote “To err is human, to forgive divine” came to mind. Such is life, and such is fiction in the hands of this talented author who has given us a new twist on a timeless theme.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a BA in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. She practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years, and now lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and two children. Six years ago, Lynda began taking classes at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. It was there that she began working on The Two-Family House, her debut novel. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as a best book of the month for March, 2016, and was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction.
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