CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Looking to cozy up with a good book? "The Two Family House" by Chappaqua Author Lynda Cohen Loigma n has been getting lots of buzz lately.
The novel, a first for Loigman, was published by St. Martin’s Press in March and soon after made the semifinalist for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards.
Loigman's story, about a two family home and its inhabitants in Brooklyn's 1940s was inspired by the stories her mom and aunts used to tell her about their childhood. The women grew up on the top floor of a two-family house in Brooklyn, with their mother's brother, his wife and their three daughters on the bottom. "The six girls were raised together, almost as siblings," she explained.
The book is written in various voices -- that of the adults and kids -- and took the author at least 10 years to formulate in her mind before she ever wrote a word.
"I spent countless hours over a full decade thinking about how Rose, Helen, Abe and Mort would behave in difficult situations, and how they would feel when faced with tragedy or joy," said Loigman.
"By the time I found the courage to start writing, I knew those four characters as well as I knew any person in my real life."
Loigman said she was drawn to setting the story in the 1940s because her mom was born in 1943 and she likes the relative simplicity of that era. "For practical reasons, I also knew the story had to take place before sonograms were commonly used," she said.
The story -- without giving away too much -- asks serious questions about pregnancy, motherhood, and gender: What if you had the power to choose the sex of your baby? Would it fix your life? Would you be happy?
As much as those topics are critical to the story, so too is the house part of the narrative – so much so that it is almost another character. Would Helen and Rose have formed the same bond as young mothers if they hadn’t lived in such close quarters? Would Mort have been as resentful of Abe’s brood of boys if he hadn’t heard them pounding overhead day after day?
Loigman said she hopes readers come away from thestory caring about the characters, and missing them when they finish the book.
Like any good author, she also hopes readers clamor for more. She's already hard at work on her second book, another family story which focuses on two estranged sisters who grew up in Brooklyn and are each keeping a shocking secret from the other. The story takes place in Springfield, MA at the Springfield Armory at the beginning of World War II, putting Loigman back into the historical fiction realm.
Go to www.lyndacohenloigman.com for more information.