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Summary

Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage, with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear, and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it.

One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins. From debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman comes The Two-Family House, a moving family saga filled with heart, emotion, longing, love, and mystery.

©2016 Lynda Cohen Loigman (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"Two families, both living in one house, drive an exquisitely written novel of love, alliances, the messiness of life and long buried secrets. Loigman's debut is just shatteringly wonderful and I can't wait to see what she does next." (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times best-selling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You)
"No good deed goes unpunished. In a single, intensely charged moment, two women come to a private agreement meant to assure each other's happiness. But as Lynda Cohen Loigman deftly reveals, life is not so simple, especially when it involves two families, tightly intertwined. The Two-Family House is sympathetically observed and surely plotted all the way through to its deeply satisfying conclusion." [Christina Schwarz, author of Drowning Ruth (an Oprah's Book Club pick) and national best seller The Edge of the Earth]

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 17-08-17

A Two Family Saga

This book is set in late 1940s Brooklyn and focuses on a close-knit large extended family who live and work together in the family box factory. The story clips along at an engaging speed with lots of dialogue, well developed characters and several convoluted family secrets.

The storytelling really shines in its ability to make the characters believable people you can care about. Even better, gradually and subtly the story becomes a mirror the author, Loigman, holds up to the reader. The listener may even be able to recognize people, behaviors, and choices from their own lives and family in these characters. In doing this, the author shows the often inept and unaware power family members have over one another. This, at times, makes the book thought provoking and insightful. At other times, the writing had some clunkiness to it and I'm hoping this will disappear with experience.

The narration was a bit wooden in spots but over all Kreinik did a good job capturing the feeling and tone of the time.

If you enjoy multi-character complex family dramas set in distinct historic locations you might just like this book. I really enjoyed it.

P.S. I agree with another reviewer -- I hope we hear more about Judith -- maybe book 2?

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Taryn
  • 07-08-17

Excellent for your book club

This was an fabulous story about the intricate tangled relationships that evolve when 2 brothers, with very different temperaments, marry after WWII and their young families grow up in a two family house in Brooklyn.The brothers also own a family business. This book provided my book club with hours of great discussion. There was so much to ponder. We all highly recommend it.
The only downside to me was that the narrators voice was a bit grating. It didn't ruin the story!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 08-10-16

Family (melo)drama

Initially, I wasn't sure about this one. The narration seemed flat, and the prologue set up an obvious scenario. But the author pulled off a compelling story of (2) families, close in proximity but so far apart in temperament. The narrator really nailed the dialogue. I'm glad I stuck with it !

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • 02-02-17

Amazing!!

This book hooked me from the first chapter. I couldn't wait to get to the next bit. The characters were so relatable to life. I came out of this realizing that I need to take stock of my life and how I behave and be open with those that love me. So amazing!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • 23-03-16

Good first book

This was Linda's first book. I enjoyed the story but the writing was very simple. I am sure it will improve with future books.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kiley
  • 11-12-17

A so-so book, not great

What disappointed you about The Two-Family House?

I was disappointed that the story droned on and on and not enough drama or unexpected revelations. I don't like being able to predict the next thing to happen. At times it was interesting, but I wouldn't want to keep it in my library for future listening.

What could Linda Cohen Loigman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

For me, the book didn't offer enough imagination or drama. I mean, we're talking fiction...go for it, be unpredictable and creative. I might listen to another book from this author in hopes that she improves her creativity. Not using a lot of hard profanity was refreshing in light of other books I just can't get past the first few pages without the f-bomb at which time I'm done.

What about Barrie Kreinik’s performance did you like?

I loved the range and distinction between characters. She was great even with the male voices. And that New Jersey swag that is distinguishable and very real. I loved the accent, inflections and tones...perfect!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the story, especially the beginning, hooked me making me not want to stop listening hoping there would be a lot of drama around the childrens' birth. There was a lot to work with starting that way. This is the way it was throughout the story for me. There were many times that the story kept falling flat. I liked that there weren't so many characters to keep track of...just one family, albeit a large family . The story was easy to follow.

Any additional comments?

I've said enough.

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  • workout girl
  • 25-09-16

Such a great book

What did you love best about The Two-Family House?

How real it was.

What other book might you compare The Two-Family House to and why?

I don't know, it was so good, it is hard to compare

What about Barrie Kreinik’s performance did you like?

He did such a great job with all the characters

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Family First

Any additional comments?

Loved Abe - he was so kind and patient. And Helen was the perfect sister in law

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MareFlare
  • 17-08-16

Mediocre writing, but captivating story

What did you like best about The Two-Family House? What did you like least?

I have to agree with NMwritergal's review with the exception of the narration. I thought the narrator was wonderful; in fact, that's what kept me listening. The story had a good premise, but it dragged as well as skipped too much time. The author used way too many verbs in the past progressive tense (was looking, was hiding), which drove me crazy. I agreed that the ending came to quickly and when the big secret was revealed, the one who was affected most seemed too forgiving. The fact that the secret wasn't evident to more people was also difficult to believe. There were several underdeveloped characters and too much telling in places I wanted dialog--like during an argument--I don't want explanation, I want dialog that will explain.

That said, the story itself was creative and endearing. I loved the two Jewish families. There were a lot of POVs, and I would have preferred the story to be told from the two sisters-in-law. Judith, the eldest daughter could have had her own story. I was drawn into hers.

All in all, it was an enjoyable story to listen to.

Do you think The Two-Family House needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, but I do think that Judith (the oldest daughter) had such a great story that I would love to hear more of her story.

Any additional comments?



1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ilene
  • 26-07-16

Predictable but sweet

Sometimes you make decisions you have to live with and feel uncomfortable. This book is about a family with good intentions and many secrets.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen C.
  • 06-05-16

A Genuine Love Story

The predictable plot only makes this an extremely sensitive story with true to life characters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful