The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn

Merrill Joan Gerber, Author . Syracuse Univ. $24.95 (406p) ISBN 978-0-8156-0892-9

Rich in historic detail, this boilerplate immigrant family epic focuses on three Jewish sisters struggling to make something of their lives over 40 years of births, deaths, work, domestic abuse and two world wars. Gerber (The King of Brooklyn ) focuses on the passions and cross-cultural currents whirling around Ava, Musetta and Gilda, the three daughters of Rachel, a Polish Jew who arrives on New York's Lower East Side in 1906. Rachel, still in thrall to Old World ways, brings little Ava with her when she confronts her philandering husband, Nathan. Nathan ditches the family, only to appear decades later after Ava marries Len, a smalltime Prohibition-era gangster. Ava's younger sisters, Musetta and Gilda, lock horns over everything from boys and a pet dog to war volunteer efforts. Unfortunately, the early 20th-century immigrant streets of New York are heavily traveled, and there's little to distinguish this novel from the crowd. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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