cover image The Zonderling

The Zonderling

Kersti Niebruegge. Kersti Niebruegge, $9.99 trade paper (170p) ISBN 978-0-9908710-3-3

Amusing yet clichéd, Niebruegge’s first novel provides a glimpse into the lives of those living in a historic New York City boarding house. Wisconsin transplant Heather Baumhauer arrives in New York to find her cousin Christina gone, leaving Heather stranded with no place to live and no way to get home. An Internet search leads her to the Zonderling, a safe and affordable boarding house for women. The historic (fictional) Zonderling was a project for the Altruistic Army, opened as a soup kitchen for young working women in 1905, and now it is a dorm-like community where Heather moves in to begin her new life. Heather’s story is short and predictable; the other inhabitants of the Zonderling are introduced and take center stage. A cartoon portrait of city life with stock characters fills the pages, including the naive, wannabe actress from the Midwest, the jaded, unofficial “cruise director” of all things Zonderling, the resident crank with entitlement issues, and the overprotective mother who watches too much Dateline. With an abrupt and unsurprising outcome, readers are left wanting for more. (BookLife)