5 rounded to 4 starsNot Our Kind is about a young Jewish woman who takes a job as a tutor for a 13 year old girl who does not want to return to school out of shame after she is left with a withered leg after a battle with polio The girl, Margaux, is the only child of privileged couple Patricia and Wynn The story takes place just after the end of WWII in New York City where anti Semitism remains prevalent Patricia is willing to overlook the fact that her new hire is Jewish, but has Eleanor use the surname Moss instead of her real name Moskowitz Wynn is not at all happy to have a Jew on the payroll.
This is a very good story about the consequences of class differences and relationships in general I loved Eleanor who bonds quickly with Margaux and is key in helping the feisty young teenager blossom Their relationship is endearing Wynn is a despicable man except for his bond with his daughter Patricia and Wynn have a complex marriage with significant issues.
There were a couple of things that bothered me I couldn t feel much of a connection between the two characters involved in a budding romance And the story in general is not of the depth I was hoping for I think part of the issue is that I have recently read some novels that were very emotive this book did not generate those feelings in me That said, I found myself engrossed in the story and was always anxious to get back to the book when real life allowed I also appreciated learning about postwar anti Semitism in this country, which I had been unaware of before For these reasons it was an easy decision to round my 3.
5 stars up to 4 stars.
I recommend Not Our Kind to historical fiction fans who are looking for a quick read and are interested in a very good character driven story that tackles several issues.
With Echoes Of The Rules Of Civility And The Boston Girl, A Compelling And Thought Provoking Novel Set In Postwar New York City, About Two Women One Jewish, One A WASP And The Wholly Unexpected Consequences Of Their MeetingOne Rainy Morning In June, Two Years After The End Of World War II, A Minor Traffic Accident Brings Together Eleanor Moskowitz And Patricia Bellamy Their Encounter Seems Fated Eleanor, A Teacher And Recent Vassar Graduate, Needs A Job Patricia S Difficult Thirteen Year Old Daughter Margaux, Recovering From Polio, Needs A Private TutorThough She Feels Out Of Place In The Bellamys Rarefied And Elegant Park Avenue Milieu, Eleanor Forms An Instant Bond With Margaux Soon The Idealistic Young Woman Is Filling The Bright Young Girl S Mind With Shakespeare And Latin Though Her Mother, A Hat Maker With A Little Shop On Second Avenue, Disapproves, Eleanor Takes Pride In Her Work, Even If She Must Use The Name Moss To Enter The Bellamys Restricted Doorman Building Each Morning, And Feels That Patricia S Husband, Wynn, May Have A Problem With Her Being JewishInvited To Keep Margaux Company At The Bellamys Country Home In A Small Town In Connecticut, Eleanor Meets Patricia S Unreliable, Bohemian Brother, Tom, Recently Returned From Europe The Spark Between Eleanor And Tom Is Instant And Intense Flushed With New Romance And Increasingly Attached To Her Young Pupil, Eleanor Begins To Feel Comfortable With Patricia And Much Of The World She Inhabits As The Summer Wears On, The Two Women S Friendship Grows Until One Hot Summer Evening, A Line Is Crossed, And Both Eleanor And Patricia Will Have To Make Important Decisions Choices That Will Reverberate Through Their LivesGripping And Vividly Told, Not Our Kind Illuminates The Lives Of Two Women On The Cusp Of Change And Asks How Much Our Pasts Can And Should Define Our Futures 4 sophisticated stars to Not Our Kind It seems like I was just writing a review for another World War II story, and in fact I was Not Our Kind stands out because of its unique perspective on being Jewish in a post WWII United States To set the stage, two women are brought together by a chance encounter in Brooklyn two years after the war Eleanor Moskovitz is Jewish and a teacher She meets Patricia Bellamy whose challenging teen daughter, Margaux, needs a tutor due to being diagnosed with polio Conditions are so uncomfortable for Jews at this time that Eleanor has to use a different last name to enter the Bellamys building, and she spends ample time worrying about what Mr Bellamy thinks of her, and even sometimes Patricia because she never knows just where she stands Nonetheless, she easily forms a bond with Margaux, and that s why she s there Patricia s brother makes a visit, and he and Eleanor hit it off At the same time, the true friendship between Eleanor and Patrica grows stronger until something happens to put it all in jeopardy I found the sense of time and place interesting in Not Our Kind with the recovery efforts combined with the stagnant feelings about groups of people that had not yet changed Patricia and Eleanor, especially, were champions in this book They each come into their own and offer insight when hopefully change was on the horizon The writing is charming and sophisticated, and I enjoyed Zeldis storytelling with the unique perspective of post WWII fiction A tale of unlikely friendship, Not Our Kind is a must read for historical fiction fans Many thanks to the most generous Harper books for the complimentary ARC All opinions are my own My reviews can also be found on my blog www.
com This was a 2.
5 star read for me I was sooooo excited about the premise Jewish woman facing discrimination and anti Semitism in post WW2 America but sadly, the writing and storyline fell flat.
Characters had every opportunity for depth and complexity, but instead, I found them to be drawn with broad strokes Emotions ran hot and cold there was absolutely no in between One minute, a character was sorrowful and withdrawn the next, chipper and flamboyant Decisions were made with about as much thought as it takes to flip a light switch Major conflicts were resolved in aconvenientmanner Often, writing felt like a juvenile novel excessive cliches, adjective overload, cringe worthy metaphors sigh I know that sounds bad, and, well, it wasn t great That being said, I did have an interest in the storyline and feel the novel would have been stronger if an editor had told the writer don t make this such a preachy book just tell the damn story Themes like consent and racism ended up feeling like just that generic themes the author liked but couldn t quite write effectively for an adult audience Actually, now that I wrote that, I think if you took out a couple of steamy sex scenes, this would be a perfect book for young adult audiences The emotional rollercoaster feels akin to YA tropes Hmm.
In all, if you re not looking for a super deep or dense story want a hist fic distraction, this one would be a good pick thanks to Harper books for sending me a review copy This is an interesting story about a 20 something Jewish woman, Eleanor Moskowitz, who becomes a tutor to a young girl, Margaux, from an upper class family, who is recovering from polio The mother, Patricia Bellamy, asks her to go by the name of Moss since they live in a restricted building The father, Wynn, is not pleased that they have a Jewish tutor, but is willing to tolerate it for his daughter s sake Eleanor hopes that this is her entry into a world she could only dream of But all is not as is seems in the rarified world that the Bellamys inhabit There are cracks in their gilded exterior When Eleanor becomes involved with Patricia s bohemian brother Tom, events are set in place that affect all their lives The characters are all well portrayed, even some of the minor ones They are all multi faceted and engaging The story alternates between Eleanor s and Patricia s POVs, which adds interest There is a wonderful sense of place throughout the book, whether it in NYC or the summer home in Connecticut There are issues of class distinctions, marital discord, sexual assault, and body image after polio For me the main issue was this throughout the book there is an undercurrent of the anti Semitism that pervaded the country after WWII Jews were prohibited from living in certain places, going to certain colleges, working in certain companies and socializing with certain people Eleanor faces these restrictions when she is looking for a job, working for the Bellamys, dating Tom It is assumed that the title Not Our Kind refers to how the Bellamys feel about Eleanor But it also could be how Eleanor and her mother, a self employed milliner, feel about the Bellamys and their world It goes both ways There is a passage that I found fascinating and so true But even if she became Mrs Thomas Harrison, it would change nothing The name would be a cloak, not her true skin She would never be one of them she d be dressing up, pretending And that might end up feeling worse than simple exclusion I can so relate to this, as a Jew married to a Gentile At times I feel like I m going incognito, my Waspy last name hiding my true identity Not fitting in to either world I am not really observant, but I can t relate to the Gentile world either December and Christmas make me crazy It feels like I don t exist there is little to no acknowledgement of my culture Granted, there are no longer overt prohibitions on where Jews can live, work, attend college, and intermarriage is much acceptable But anti Semitism is on the rise, in Europe and in the US This story reminds us of what post war America was like for Jews, and we cannot go back to that On its face this seems like a typical historical fiction, but there is going on under the surface, at least for me I definitely recommend this book.
Definitely an interesting perspective of US history antisemitism after WWII not a time period that I remember having read before The author really does an amazing job with setting that time and place and really grounded the reader into that age through the NYC location, the summering up north, the clothes, and the hats can t forget to mention the hats The story itself didn t really blow me away, but it was great vehicle to impart this time of US history through a historical fiction read Many thanks to Goodreads and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Not Our Kind is a riveting story featuring two women a young Jewish girl and the rich woman who hires her to tutor her young daughter The book takes place in New York City in 1947 and the author does an excellent job of putting the reader in that time and place The characters in this book are complex and interesting, as they deal with friendships and relationships that are tainted with bigotry and misogyny This is a very thought provoking novel which kept my interest from the first page through the last.
5 stars The setting is New York City two years after WWII has ended and two women who couldn t be unlike cross paths in a chance meeting when their taxis are involved in an accident Eleanor Moskowitz, a young disillusioned woman has just resigned from her first teaching job at an exclusive private school when money and status win out over the honesty she stands up for She s from a Jewish working class family and Patricia Bellamy who seems to have it all affluence, a beautiful apartment, fabulous clothes, is from a world that Eleanor has dreamed of being a part of Taking a job as a private tutor for Patricia s thirteen year old daughter Margaux, who has recovered from polio, makes Eleanor feel a little closer to these people, this circle, that has evaded, actually avoided her Is it possible that Patricia would want her for a friend The world she wants to be a part of is not a very nice place to be actually It is filled with shallow, anti Semitic people who were happy that the war was over and thought Hitler was evil, but yet they insist that Eleanor use the name Moss instead of Moskowitz when announcing herself at their apartment building or is introduced to their friends This continues when Eleanor goes with them to their summer home in Connecticut so that Margaux can continue to catch up on the studies she missed It s here that something happens that makes Eleanor realize she she can t work for this family no matter how fond she has become of Margeaux In many way, though it is as much about class and the have and have nots as it is anti Semitism It s realistic in its portrayal of marriage that is not what it seems to be While there is some food for thought here and some serious issues at the heart of the story, at times it lacked the depth I was expecting and leaned towards women s fiction with a focus on marital issues and a romance story rather than literary fiction as it as billed as Having said that, it was still a good story and I liked enough about to round up to 4 stars I received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
Eleanor is introduced to Patricia s thirteen year old daughter, Margeaux, who is crippled from polio Because of her condition, Margeaux has been homeschooled by an inconsistent parade of tutors The two meet and it is soon decided that Eleanor will take over her teaching responsibilities The perfect job isn t as great as she expected because Patricia s husband dislikes her Jewish heritage That bias requires her to disguise her name so other building residents won t know her religion During the summer, Eleanor joins the Bellamys at their Connecticut home where she forms a connection with a liberal member of the family I enjoyed reading the historical fiction novel Not Our Kind It was an interesting view of New York City through the eyes of people from different backgrounds These two women forge an unlikely friendship after they discover they are alike than expected I look forward to reading books by Kitty Zeldis.