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Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers b Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.


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Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers b Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

30 review for The Wartime Sisters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    *3.5 stars* Although marketed as WWII fiction, readers looking to satisfy their craving for a historically rich storyline should think twice. The composition of the The Wartime Sisters is much more women’s fiction than anything else. Sibling rivalry the focus of the shot, while the war itself remains a mere blur in the background. Through her lens, Lynda Cohen Loigman captures the dynamics that often haunt sisters—namely the resentment, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy that have the tendency t *3.5 stars* Although marketed as WWII fiction, readers looking to satisfy their craving for a historically rich storyline should think twice. The composition of the The Wartime Sisters is much more women’s fiction than anything else. Sibling rivalry the focus of the shot, while the war itself remains a mere blur in the background. Through her lens, Lynda Cohen Loigman captures the dynamics that often haunt sisters—namely the resentment, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy that have the tendency to creep in when comparisons are made. From the moment of her little sister Millie’s arrival, Ruth is blinded by jealousy. Considered the uber-smart and dowdy of the two Jewish girls, Ruth spends their childhood holding other people’s appraisals of Millie's beauty against her. As the years pass, Ruth’s resentment only grows, perpetuated by her mother’s insistence that Millie will one day marry well. More than anything else though, it’s the unprovoked attention Millie garners from men that creates the biggest rift. Ruth allows her own insecurities to dictate her approach with Millie. It’s not only Ruth who struggles with feelings of inadequacy. Being seen as little more than a pretty face leaves Millie feeling unintelligent. Connecting with people comes easily, except where her sister is concerned. Ruth’s stern nature and judgment are a constant in their relationship. Left parentless and devoid of a sisterly connection, it's no wonder Millie falls into the arms of someone less than deserving. Fast forward to 1942—with her husband now gone, and a young son to take care of—Millie decides to take Ruth up on her offer. One that entails moving from Brooklyn, New York to Springfield, Massachusetts to join Ruth—now an officer’s wife—at the armory. Having been estranged for five years, neither sisters is sure how the arrangement will work. In her Author’s Note, Lynda Cohen Loigman explains her inspiration behind the story—mainly the armory and the real life accounts of those who worked there during the war. The Springfield armory provides the backdrop for much of this story but it’s far from pivotal; there is little else that plays into the WWII aspect. Meaning, this story could have taken place anywhere, during any time period. So again, if historical fiction is what you’re after, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. The author is successful at capturing the heart-wrenching internal struggles that both sisters grapple with. Where I think she misses the mark a bit is in solidifying Ruth and Millie’s connection in the end. Loigman’s big chance to right the wrongs and ultimately bring the sisters together feels inadequate somehow. The ending would have been more redemptive had she injected a strong heart-to-heart—something deeper and meaningful shared between the two. Sadly, the friendships forged along the way felt more sincere than anything that transpired between Millie and Ruth. Despite my lack of emotional investment, I liked the story. The historical aspects are absent, but a noteworthy takeaway lurks—never make assumptions about what someone else is thinking or feeling, chances are you have no idea. *Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending a copy my way.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    Complex Relationships and Secrets Abound.. Beware, turbulence ahead... (Cue Jaws Theme) ♫ This ride is going to get a little bumpy, ya'll! A historically accurate representation of a WWII armory and what life is like for those working there . What's interesting about this story is there is a war obviously being fought and is referred to frequently in the peripherals. With that being said, the ultimate war is the one being fought between Millie and Ruth. Millie and Ruth are sisters wh Complex Relationships and Secrets Abound.. Beware, turbulence ahead... (Cue Jaws Theme) ♫ This ride is going to get a little bumpy, ya'll! A historically accurate representation of a WWII armory and what life is like for those working there . What's interesting about this story is there is a war obviously being fought and is referred to frequently in the peripherals. With that being said, the ultimate war is the one being fought between Millie and Ruth. Millie and Ruth are sisters who have always had a contemptuous relationship. Ruth wants so desperately to have Millie's beauty and blames Millie for every relationship of hers that has foiled. In this book, we see the ebb and flow of Millie and Ruth's relationship. Secrets are revealed and trust is destroyed. The bonds of sisterhood are tested again and again. I very much enjoyed discovering the reasons behind Millie and Ruth's fractious relationship. Whenever there is a book about familial relationships and secrets I am always going to dive right in. I thought it was interesting how the story unfolded throughout. This is definitely a testament to how strong the bond between sisters can be, even in the face of adversity. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a family drama with a splash of historical fiction blended within. I was given this as a courtesy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    What a great start to my 2019 reading! As an only child whose husband brought four daughters to the marriage, I am fascinated by sibling dynamics. How can those with the same set of genes and family setting turn out so different? So kudos to Loigman for doing such a great job of capturing the dynamics and sibling rivalries. Also for capturing how the way we are treated by parents works to harden our opinions of siblings and affects our own future family dynamics. Within pages, Ruth had captured What a great start to my 2019 reading! As an only child whose husband brought four daughters to the marriage, I am fascinated by sibling dynamics. How can those with the same set of genes and family setting turn out so different? So kudos to Loigman for doing such a great job of capturing the dynamics and sibling rivalries. Also for capturing how the way we are treated by parents works to harden our opinions of siblings and affects our own future family dynamics. Within pages, Ruth had captured my heart. She seemed like my twin. Steady, disciplined and composed, happiest with a book in her hand. “The more responsible Ruth proved to be, the more it was held against her.” Her sister, Millie, on the other hand, is forgiven all her faults because of her beauty and “sensitive nature”. So, it was interesting when the next chapter switched to Millie’s POV and I found her equally sympathetic. Loigman doesn't play favorites, she wants you to understand and appreciate both. In addition to Ruth and Millie, we meet Arietta and Lillian. Each character is fully fleshed out. The women all have secrets. The book keeps your interest as it moves from one to the other of the four women. Loigman captures the times, the social chasms and the prejudices perfectly. Set during WWII, you totally feel the time and place. Make sure to read the Author’s Note, which does a wonderful job explaining the historical significance of the Springfield Armory. An enjoyable read that I can recommend. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    There is so much to appreciate about this book. Lynda Cohen Loigman does a fabulous job of depicting the times about which she writes, and she has also created characters that the reader comes to know in depth, as their story and secrets are gradually revealed. Through multiple, alternating narratives, moving back and forth between two times frames and two places, the main focus of the story is on two sisters growing up in Brooklyn 1919-1932 and then ten years later to the present in Springfield There is so much to appreciate about this book. Lynda Cohen Loigman does a fabulous job of depicting the times about which she writes, and she has also created characters that the reader comes to know in depth, as their story and secrets are gradually revealed. Through multiple, alternating narratives, moving back and forth between two times frames and two places, the main focus of the story is on two sisters growing up in Brooklyn 1919-1932 and then ten years later to the present in Springfield, MA at an armory during the war. Ruth and Millie couldn’t be any more different. Ruth is smart, steady, responsible and not blessed with the beauty of her younger sister Millie. It is this difference in their looks that is the basis for a rift between them that keeps them estranged for years. It isn’t really the difference itself, but it’s the different way they are treated by their parents. Millie, the beauty is more deserving in their eyes of making a wonderful marriage and having a perfect life while Ruth, no matter how well she does in school is not recognized as being deserving of the same perfect life. So of course, there is jealousy, resentment, things said and done and then secrets kept until they eventually come to the surface. At first it’s very easy to feel for Ruth as she endures embarrassment and hurt, but then it’s hard not to like Millie, especially when we get a sense of who she is especially when she so lovingly takes care of a neighbor’s children when the neighbor is dying of cancer. While their lives have taken different paths and they have been estranged for years, circumstances bring Millie and her two year old son to Springfield to live with Ruth, her twin daughters and her husband who is an officer at the armory. Interspersed between the sister’s narratives are the stories of two other women, Lillian, the wife of the commanding officer and Arietta, the cafeteria cook who also entertains with her singing. Both are wonderful characters with their own pasts that influence the relationship of the sisters when the past catches up with them. This is about how families and things that happen to us as children can have a significant impact on who we are, how friendship and caring of others makes such a big difference in people’s lives. I don’t want to forget the time in our history and and the reflections on of how the war impacted men and women left on the home front and the role that many played as workers that we come to know at the Springfield Armory. This is a well written and developed story that held my interest from beginning to end . I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Two sisters, discrimination that begins in the home, and how this affects their relationship in the future. Ruth, the elder, responsible, smart but convinced the was dull looking, and the younger Millie, the beauty of the family, expected to make a brilliant marriage. The Armory in Springfield, the 1940s, where the sisters will once again find themselves in the same place . WWIi, and almost half of those working in the armory on the manufacturing assembly lines. Many for the first time find thems Two sisters, discrimination that begins in the home, and how this affects their relationship in the future. Ruth, the elder, responsible, smart but convinced the was dull looking, and the younger Millie, the beauty of the family, expected to make a brilliant marriage. The Armory in Springfield, the 1940s, where the sisters will once again find themselves in the same place . WWIi, and almost half of those working in the armory on the manufacturing assembly lines. Many for the first time find themselves head of their households, jobs, children, now their sole responsibility. The atmosphere and tone of this novel does an excellent job drawing the reader into this time period. The story follows the two sisters, but also two other interesting women also at the armory, though their positions are very different. We see as the women, the two sisters grow and change. Grow stronger within themselves, and come together in a very different way from the past. The authors note shows how true to live she portrayed life at the armory during this time, though changing a few dates to benefit her story. I enjoyed reading about this time, the changes that occurred, the differences this made in the women's lives. A strong story, with a strong historical background. ARC from St. Martin's Press.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars I have not read many historical fiction books, but I picked up The Family House, Linda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel, a couple of years ago basically on a lark. I was surprised by how much I loved it. Since that time I have been more open to historical fiction reads. When I heard Ms. Loigman had completed her second novel I ran to Net Galley to see if it might be there, and lo and behold it was. I grabbed it immediately. Like her first book, this one is set in the 1930s 4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars I have not read many historical fiction books, but I picked up The Family House, Linda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel, a couple of years ago basically on a lark. I was surprised by how much I loved it. Since that time I have been more open to historical fiction reads. When I heard Ms. Loigman had completed her second novel I ran to Net Galley to see if it might be there, and lo and behold it was. I grabbed it immediately. Like her first book, this one is set in the 1930s and 1940s. Again the protagonistic family is Jewish with roots in Brooklyn. The Wartime Sisters is written from the point of view of four women: very different and estranged sisters Ruth and Millie; Lillian, the wife of a commanding officer; and Arietta, the singing armory cook. At the crux of the story is the relationship between Ruth and Millie from their childhood through young adulthood. The timeline goes back and forth, but is easy to follow. I found the main characters to be very well written; the reader really gets to know them. The tale is almost totally character-driven. There are no battle scenes or European settings though WW II is underway. The setting for the most part, however, is military as much of the story takes place at the Armory factories in Springfield, Massachusetts. Though I loved the plotline involving the four women, I was just as impressed by Ms. Loigman’s portrayal of life on the homefront. As I read the intriguing details of the composition of the armory setting and life on the base, in my mind I was congratulating the author on the thoroughness of and the spirit she brings to the book with her research. After reading the acknowledgements it is clear how extensive her research is. I read books for the feelings they give me. If I learn something in the process, as I did with this book, the novel is even more special. My one tiny complaint is that the story wrapped up a little too quickly for me. I wanted more time to savor the ending. If I had to compare Ms. Loigman’s writing with someone else’s, I think of Diane Chamberlain. She’s that good. I have added this author to my growing list of those I wish to read everything they write. I also thank Ms. Loigman (along with Kristin Hannah) for kindling my desire to read more historical fiction. I strongly recommend The Wartime Sisters to all historical fiction fans and everyone else looking for a wonderfully written character-driven novel. Thank you St. Martin’s Press for inviting me to read an advanced reader’s copy of this novel. Thanks too to Net Galley for supplying the ARC and to Ms. Loigman. Opinions are mine alone and are unbiased in any way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I finished this emotionally engrossing novel yesterday....a particular moment in history - against the backdrop of Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. It’s a wonderful novel that untethers within it the impact of universal forces: discrepancy of treatment in childhood/parental favoritism, family disharmony, self-esteem, resentments, rivalries, withheld communications, lies, betrayal, assumptions, secrets, friendships, marriage, motherhood, sisterhood, patriotism, ambition, desire, religious di I finished this emotionally engrossing novel yesterday....a particular moment in history - against the backdrop of Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. It’s a wonderful novel that untethers within it the impact of universal forces: discrepancy of treatment in childhood/parental favoritism, family disharmony, self-esteem, resentments, rivalries, withheld communications, lies, betrayal, assumptions, secrets, friendships, marriage, motherhood, sisterhood, patriotism, ambition, desire, religious differences, jealousy, classism, loyalty, and love. Ruth, invites Millie, (her sister who is 3 years younger), to bring her 2 year old child, Michael, to come live with her in Springfield. The sisters had been exchanging letters. It’s how Ruth learned Millie was alone. Millie had once written Ruth that her husband, Lenny ( thought of as the ‘bum’ in the sister’s mother’s eyes), had enlisted many letters back - then a letter saying he was missing. A final letter saying he was gone. Not ‘all’ was the truth ( suggested beliefs lived)...but the news Ruth received from Millie opened her heart up ( just enough) to offer her sister & nephew an extra room in the house she shared with her husband Arthur and their twin girls, Alice and Louise ( 4years of age at the time). There were reasons the two sisters - both young mothers - had not seen each other - not once in 5 years. Their parents were dead - and there was much to worry about with the war. Ruth and Millie grew up in Brooklyn, New York. They had nothing in common even as small children. Ruth was composed, disciplined, neat, enjoyed reading, and her studies. She was also insecure about herself - ( her mother didn’t offer an ‘ounce’ of help). Father was much more kind - yet didn’t hold the power in their family. Ruth was often frustrated - unhappy & socially lonely. Ruth’s target of anger pointed toward her sister....usually unfairly. Her mother, constantly highlighted Millie’s physical beauty’. Ruth was aware of how critical her mother was of her.....yet Millie could do no wrong. Millie was actually sensitive too ...only nobody took interest in her ‘feelings’. Mother had high dreams for her to marry a rich Prince. Ruth thought she should focus on education and work. Ruth observations of her mother: (rather accurate): “To their mother’s discerning eye, Ruth’s wrinkles were conspicuous. But her sisters stains were overlooked and hastily”. Lynda Cohen Loigman did an exceptional job portraying the complexities between Ruth and Millie during every stage of their development: early childhood, teenage years, and adult years as young mothers. I’m still thinking about their relationship—( the underline reasons for choices they made - appointed blame - shame- hurt - miss opportunities for years of closer bonding & understanding, etc.) There are two other standout women in this book. It’s no accident that Lynda wrote their characters the way she did. Inspiring contrasts - to ‘both’ Ruth and Millie. These women ‘must’ be mentioned. - Their strength in this novel shines!!! *Lillian Walsh*: Her husband, Patrick, was a commanding officer. They had 4 children. Lilliian was a community leader - She inspired the military wives to get involved. With men at the frontlines it became necessary for women to work in the factories. The manufacturing buildings were on the other side of the armory from the family homes. One side of the armory was where more than 10 thousand civilians worked — the other side had manicured lawns, nice homes with ancient trees, tennis courts, and community swimming pool. Until Lillian arrive - the wives with young children didn’t work — even though there was childcare available for them at the factory. Most of them spent their time exchanging recipes, gossiping, boasting about their children, complaining about their husbands, - and none of them followed the news or read a book. Lillian changed things!!! They put together packages for children overseas - clothes & supplies - started a book club - held concerts - etc. Lillian’s background is sad - parts of it - yet she demonstrates what’s valuable in life and what’s not. She’s my personal favorite character. The other inspiring female is Arietta Benevetto- Her story is awesome and she’s such a ‘love’. She cooks. She sings... makes killer yummy macaroni and cheese - and to die for lasagna. Most - she’s a great friend. The Springfield Armory in Massachusetts depended on women workers during WWII. We take childcare services for granted today at large corporations- but childcare during this period of history was relatively new and grew out if need. The great thing is - most woman-after WWII, realized they had other options other than just being a stay at home mother. They could work for a living while day nurseries provided for their children. It was a thriving community for women at the Armory. A joy stepping back in time. As for the men - you’ll meet a few worth reflecting on. Mr. Schmuck - ( not his real name)—but you’ll figure out ‘which’ male I’m referring to soon enough, makes for great storytelling drama! Great character development- and a marvelous satisfying story! Thank you St. Martin’s Thank You Lynda.... * congratulations on this wonderful book!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    World War 2 historical fiction is a genre I just keep coming back to especially when it features strong female characters. While the war and military community in Springfield, Massachusetts certainly are parts of this story, the main focus is on female relationships particularly the one between sisters Ruth and Millie. I was hooked from the very beginning as you really sympathized with Ruth and how she felt like she was the "lesser" sister. But because the story switched back and forth between Ru World War 2 historical fiction is a genre I just keep coming back to especially when it features strong female characters. While the war and military community in Springfield, Massachusetts certainly are parts of this story, the main focus is on female relationships particularly the one between sisters Ruth and Millie. I was hooked from the very beginning as you really sympathized with Ruth and how she felt like she was the "lesser" sister. But because the story switched back and forth between Ruth and Millie's perspectives it was also easy to relate to Millie. Throughout the book whether you agreed or not with some of the choices the women made, you could at least understand their motivations. This might seem like such a simple thing, but I've had some bad luck recently with books with underdeveloped characters, so this was a breath of fresh air. I'll admit I wasn't as interested in the story lines of the other women featured in the book. While Lillian and Arietta were each given a backstory, to me they just came off as a little too perfect. I think I just gravitated more towards the sisters who had flaws but were much easier to relate to. I do think though the author nailed the camaraderie that exists on military bases as well as some of the backbiting that goes on. Grace Peabody might seem like some horrible caricature but in my experience as a military spouse there really is at least a few of those gossipy, cruel types on every base. Thankfully, there are also the mother hen type of people like Lillian who make everyone feel welcome. Despite this being a book with some drama, it was really a relaxing read. The type of book you curl up with on the sofa with a blanket and some tea and just enjoy. I loved how the author included a note about the history of the Springfield Armory and her process in writing the book. Definitely recommend even to those who feel like they have read too many historical books about World War 2. The real strength of this book is the female relationships. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me an advance readers copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    This author is one of my favorites for depicting the nuances of sibling relationships. I have recommended her first book, The Two-Family House, to more people than any other book, and it has been received with so much love. I’m pleased to say I feel the same love for The Wartime Sisters! Two sisters, both raised in Brooklyn, are feeling the distance from one another. They each have burdens to carry when they meet up at the Springfield Armory just as World War II has begun. One sister is an office This author is one of my favorites for depicting the nuances of sibling relationships. I have recommended her first book, The Two-Family House, to more people than any other book, and it has been received with so much love. I’m pleased to say I feel the same love for The Wartime Sisters! Two sisters, both raised in Brooklyn, are feeling the distance from one another. They each have burdens to carry when they meet up at the Springfield Armory just as World War II has begun. One sister is an officer’s wife and lives a relative easy-appearing life there on the Armory campus, while the other is a widow of the war and has to work on the production line in the Armory factories. As one can imagine, that rivalry between sisters causes feelings to be hurt as their divide deepens, and also, as someone from their past comes back into both of their lives. The heart of this story is the dynamic between these two sisters. It’s Millie and Ruth’s story above all else. The jealousy and swirl of other emotions is palpable, and anyone with a sibling can surely relate to some of those feelings we don’t want to admit to. The historical backdrop with the Armory setting solidifies the plot. Overall, The Wartime Sisters is a dynamic and intriguing story of sisters, second chances, and hopes for mending relationships. Once again, Lynda Cohen Loigman nails the nuances in these sibling relationships and delivers another engaging and emotional novel. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    I can be a real suck when it comes to books and movies. Crank up the emotions, and the tears start flowing. The Wartime Sisters had that impact on me. The writing isn’t special and the plot is a bit predictable, but the story and the characters got to me and had me all choked up. The story is set in the 1930s and 40s, focusing on sisters Ruth and Millie. Ruth is older and jealous of her younger sister’s good looks and more endearing personality. It turns out that being the younger good looking s I can be a real suck when it comes to books and movies. Crank up the emotions, and the tears start flowing. The Wartime Sisters had that impact on me. The writing isn’t special and the plot is a bit predictable, but the story and the characters got to me and had me all choked up. The story is set in the 1930s and 40s, focusing on sisters Ruth and Millie. Ruth is older and jealous of her younger sister’s good looks and more endearing personality. It turns out that being the younger good looking sister is no walk in the park for Millie. Part of the story takes place in Brooklyn in the 1930s when the girls are in their late teens living with their parents. The other part takes place several years later when Ruth and Millie live in Summerfield, Massachusetts, working at the armoury during the war. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because there are a number of buried secrets that are revealed as the story progresses. This wasn’t a literary masterpiece, but it had me fully engaged and the way the author deals with her characters’ emotions is not trifling or simplistic. People can be horribly cruel, spiteful and self centered, and people can be generous and gain strength through friendship and empathy. This book runs the gamut of those emotions and behaviours. The tears are welling again... Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    3. 5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review. My sixth WWII era narrative featuring strong female protagonists in a two week period and suprisingly I don't seem to be tiring. In The Wartime Sisters, I found myself on the Home Front, specifically in Springfield Mass, at the Armory campus. The sisters in question are Ruth and Millie, two Jewish girls from Brooklyn that act more like high school rivals than sisters. Both women bounce back in 3. 5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review. My sixth WWII era narrative featuring strong female protagonists in a two week period and suprisingly I don't seem to be tiring. In The Wartime Sisters, I found myself on the Home Front, specifically in Springfield Mass, at the Armory campus. The sisters in question are Ruth and Millie, two Jewish girls from Brooklyn that act more like high school rivals than sisters. Both women bounce back in time to their upbringing and the present, showing readers all the reasons for their estrangement. Sandwiched in between these narratives are chapters led by armory cook, Arietta, and Lillian, the wife of a Colonel. Both of these women also give us insights into the Ruth and Millie relationship and had interesting back stories as well. My rating of 3.5 stars is at the forefront an echo of many other reviewers including my Goodreads pals, Melissa and Martie. The Wartime Sisters feels more in the women's fiction category than in the historical fiction. Although Millie has a job at the armoury, Lynda Cohen Loigman doesn't really get into the details of Millie's work. Secondly, I grew really weary of Ruth and felt that little Elsa chick needed to visit her and sing "Let It Go." So your sister was born better looking- GET OVER IT and work on your UGLY HEART. Although books like this are important because as much as we hear about everyone doing their part for the war effort, it's a human story that even during times of war- people can be petty. All in all, a good addition to the growing library of WWII era tales.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    The book The Wartime Sisters is really a story about two girls raised in the same Jewish household where one has been treated differently than the other. One sister, Millie, seems favored over the other sister, Ruth, because she possesses looks, allure, and the mother's desire for her to marry up in society, while the other daughter is treated like she is not even a close second to being what her sister is. As you can imagine, this causes a huge chasm to open in the girls' relationship that carr The book The Wartime Sisters is really a story about two girls raised in the same Jewish household where one has been treated differently than the other. One sister, Millie, seems favored over the other sister, Ruth, because she possesses looks, allure, and the mother's desire for her to marry up in society, while the other daughter is treated like she is not even a close second to being what her sister is. As you can imagine, this causes a huge chasm to open in the girls' relationship that carries them into their future with anger and resentment. The girls grow and both marry, Ruth to a scientist assigned to the Springfield Armory, which was an actual place, established by George Washington in 1794. The other sister, Millie, marries as well, assigned to a life that is the exact opposite of what her parents wanted or wished for. Eventually, through fate, they wind up together based at the Springfield Armory where tensions seethed as they both learn the secrets and the duplicitous nature that each has. This was not particularly a story of wartime, although there are some references to it. It is a story of how resentment grows and destroys relationships between siblings that should be solid and loving. It was a sad story for lost years, lost opportunities, and the harm at times a parent does in seeming to favor one child over another. Some can recover and form a familial relationship, while others continue to feel and live the great divide that exists between them. How these two sisters relate and perhaps resolve the things that have driven them apart over the years is what makes this book an engaging story. Thank you to Lynda Cohen Loigman, St Martin's Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book due to be published on January 22, 2019. My reviews can also be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    4.5 stars 2019 hasn't started off too well for me, as I've been sick since the end of December and have been dealing with some issues at home the past few days -- all that plus the usual "busy-ness" with work and a bunch of other things going on in my life -- have managed to put me in a not-so-pleasant mood as of late. Whenever I encounter these types of "dark periods" in my life, I turn to books as my solace, as the one source that allows me to escape from my problems, even if only briefly, and 4.5 stars 2019 hasn't started off too well for me, as I've been sick since the end of December and have been dealing with some issues at home the past few days -- all that plus the usual "busy-ness" with work and a bunch of other things going on in my life -- have managed to put me in a not-so-pleasant mood as of late. Whenever I encounter these types of "dark periods" in my life, I turn to books as my solace, as the one source that allows me to escape from my problems, even if only briefly, and immerse myself into another world entirely. In keeping with the goal I set for myself this year to make a stronger effort with staying on top of my ARC list, I picked up Lynda Cohen Loigman’s sophomore novel The Wartime Sisters to read, though given my mood, I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive with this choice, as I knew from reading the brief synopsis that the story would be set during the WWII time period, so I was expecting an emotional, heart-wrenching read that would leave me feeling even more sad and depressed. Fortunately, this book didn’t turn out that way at all – in fact, I found the story to be an uplifting one that actually helped brighten my mood a bit. The story starts off with Ruth and Millie, estranged for 5 years, reuniting at an armory in Springfield, Massachusetts – Ruth lives an idyllic life at the armory with her officer husband and twin girls while Millie, penniless and desperate, arrives there as a war widow with a young son. The sisters have a rocky relationship, harboring jealousy and resentment toward each other going back to their childhood growing up in Brooklyn, under the tutelage of parents who loved them but treated them very differently. There are also secrets, things that neither sister wants the other to find out, as it would put further strain on their relationship. In alternating chapters, we are taken back to the 1920s and 30s in Brooklyn, to the sisters’ childhoods, and as the story evolves, we learn the many (and at times complicated) reasons why the two of them were driven so far apart. Interspersed between the sisters’ narratives are those of Lillian, the wife of the armory’s commanding officer, and Arietta, the cafeteria cook with a feisty personality and a previous career as a singer – these two wonderful women became my favorite characters in the story. I really enjoyed this excellent, well-written work of historical fiction that centered on strong yet flawed female characters, with a story that didn’t have a lot of fanfare, but was still engaging and kept my attention from beginning to end. Though set during WWII, this was a story where the war played more of a periphery role to the main, in-depth, absorbing character-driven story of sibling rivalry and the impact of family dynamics in shaping both past and present, while at the same time, highlighting the importance of friendship and standing together in times of adversity, giving each other hope and the will to survive. The historical aspect was also well-depicted, as was the sense of time and place, both in the past timeline with the sisters growing up in Brooklyn as well as the present one with them living together again at the armory. I also enjoyed reading through the Author’s Note at the end of the book and understanding the differences between the real life events and where liberties were taken in depicting armory life and other historical events. In the way that this book portrayed strong women contributing to the war effort in their own ways through an ultimately uplifting, inspirational story, this reminded me of Jennifer Ryan’s The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir , which I had read 2 years ago and had enjoyed just as much. After finishing this book, I realized that Loigman is the same author who wrote The Two-Family House ,which has been on my TBR for awhile and I even own a copy of the book, but never got the chance to read it – looks like I should rectify this sooner rather than later! Received ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    Grabbed me from page 1! Lynda Loigman knows how to tell a compelling, fast moving story...rich with realistic relationship complexities- sisters, parents, colleagues and friends... set at the Armory in Massachusetts in the 1940s. Loved it! I loved Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut, The Two Family House, and she has written another emotional family story, this time taking place in Springfield, Massachusetts. Filled with detail and charm, she clearly knows how to use research to create an authentic atmo Grabbed me from page 1! Lynda Loigman knows how to tell a compelling, fast moving story...rich with realistic relationship complexities- sisters, parents, colleagues and friends... set at the Armory in Massachusetts in the 1940s. Loved it! I loved Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut, The Two Family House, and she has written another emotional family story, this time taking place in Springfield, Massachusetts. Filled with detail and charm, she clearly knows how to use research to create an authentic atmosphere in her latest novel, The Wartime Sisters. Her fully formed characters seemed like real people to me, and thanks to her skilled storytelling, and unique use of music to create scenes, I felt like I was living at the Springfield Armory during the war. This is a story of sisters. Ruth is the older, smart one; she likes to read and do math. Not a looker, but is capable and given responsibility in the family. Millie is three years younger, gets away with everything, and receives all the attention because she is the pretty one. Now adults, parents gone, Millie has a young son and her husband has gone off to war. She cannot support herself and her boy so they go to live at the armory with her older sister Ruth and her family. Ruth has two children and works at the armory, and her husband is an officer and has gone off to war. Bad blood and secrets between the sisters linger while they learn to co-exist at the armory, but with the tragedy of war and loss, and the importance of family, the gift of time often heals wounds. Music was an important part of this book, and Lynda Cohen Loigman shares: HOW MUSIC HELPED TO SHAPE THE WARTIME SISTERS Early on in my research, I read a line in a book about the Springfield Armory that mentioned an opera singer who worked as a cook at the Armory cafeteria. When I read this line, I knew I wanted to create a character like that – a woman who would work behind the stove preparing food for the factory workers, but who would have another, more creative and outgoing side to her. From that one line (and a lot of subsequent research), I shaped the character of Arietta. She is the daughter of an Italian immigrant, a former vaudeville singer who performed in theatres owned by Sylvester Poli in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Unlike Arietta, Sylvester Poli was a real person – an immigrant himself, and the owner of several vaudeville theatres throughout the northeast. He started in New Haven, and built his theater empire from there. In the story, Arietta has a big personality and an even bigger heart. She is a wonderful friend and support for Millie, and very protective of her. I had the best time listening to 1940’s music, trying to come up with the songs I wanted to include in my story for Arietta to sing. My favorite was a song called “A Pair of Silver Wings,” originally performed by Kay Kaiser, and later sung by Dinah Shore. One of the pivotal scenes in The Wartime Sisters takes place during a concert that was held on the Armory grounds, put on by the Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands radio show. This scene was modeled on a real concert that occurred at the Armory in September of 1943. Benny Goodman performed for a crowd of thousands on Armory Hill, and the radio show was broadcast throughout the country. Of course, in my version, I had to move the date slightly, and also make sure that Arietta had the opportunity to perform. The last song she sings at my fictional concert is one that helped to shape my character, Lenny. It’s called “Why Don’t You Do Right,” and Peggy Lee recorded it with Benny Goodman in 1942. It has a particularly haunting and almost ominous melody, perfect for my scene. There were so many additional songs I wanted to include, but I was only able to add a few more to the story. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you get a chance to listen to them too! Research is a huge part of writing a novel and here Lynda shares: THE RABBIT HOLE OF RESEARCH – BALANCING THE “HISTORICAL” WITH THE “FICTION” Immersing myself in research can be tremendously rewarding. But after a while, there is a fine line (at least for me) between research and procrastination. I could research forever, and never stop to develop my characters or think about my plot. In many ways, knowing when to stop is the most difficult skill to develop. In researching The Wartime Sisters, my goal was to create an accurate picture of daily life at the Springfield Armory, from the perspective of both the residents and the workers. I spoke many times with the curator of the Armory museum to try to get all of the details right. But there were two questions that gnawed at me, for which I couldn’t find answers. At the end of the day, one of the answers mattered, and one really didn’t. And I had to force myself to let go of the question that I knew wasn’t going to further my story. The question that mattered had to do with the Armory’s “On To Victory” dance that occurred in February of 1943. There was an article about the dance in the Armory Newsletter, full of photographs and all kinds of information about the evening. I learned how many tickets were sold, the refreshments that were served, and the name of all the musicians and entertainers who performed. There were detailed photos of various people in attendance so I could see what they were wearing. I read about the war bond raffle and the jitterbug contest. There was, however, one crucial piece of information missing: the article didn’t mention where the dance was held. The curator of the museum had no idea, and neither of us could believe that the venue wasn’t mentioned in any of the articles we found. Finally, after seeking additional help from the Springfield Museums, we found the answer through a ticket advertisement in an old edition of The Springfield Republican. The dance had been held at the Springfield Auditorium. Knowing the location was crucial to getting the description correct in my story. I wanted to be able to picture the hall, to see where one character stood and where another stopped to rest her feet. I wanted to know what it was like to enter the venue, to walk up the auditorium steps, and to set foot inside. This was a piece of information very worth the time and energy that went into its discovery. At another point, however, I became fixated on a historical detail that wasn’t nearly as relevant. For whatever reason, I became obsessed with learning how it was that armory residents received their mail. They didn’t have mailboxes, so where was it delivered? Was there a separate mail room? Mail slots in the doors? I never found the answer, and the curator couldn’t help me. Ultimately, I had to let go of that small detail. I knew in my heart that writing about the specific path of a letter from the post office to the postman to my character’s hands wasn’t going to move my plot along. And, to be honest, it probably wasn’t going to be interesting for readers either. So, there you have it – two tiny mysteries, but only one solved. The mail question continued to bother me for a while, but I forced myself to stop thinking about it. Instead, I focused on my writing and the contents of that letter I had been worrying about. Ultimately, what the letter said about my character was much more important than how it got delivered. Writing historical fiction is not an easy task, the research alone is endless and the commitment to accuracy seems like it could be a draining process. I admire Lynda and so many others who put in the time to write such wonderful, creative and fulfilling stories, creating opportunity to learn about a specific time in history. Follow Book Nation by Jen for reviews and recommendations.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I was immediately sucked into this historical fiction because of the conflict between the two sisters. Ruth is older, plain and smart. She is envious of her younger sister Millie, who is not as good in school, but a social butterfly, gorgeous and curvy, and attracts attention and praise everywhere she goes. If Ruth does 99 things right out of 100, her mother criticizes the one thing she got wrong. Millie can make dozens of mistakes and her mother says they all need to be more understanding. When I was immediately sucked into this historical fiction because of the conflict between the two sisters. Ruth is older, plain and smart. She is envious of her younger sister Millie, who is not as good in school, but a social butterfly, gorgeous and curvy, and attracts attention and praise everywhere she goes. If Ruth does 99 things right out of 100, her mother criticizes the one thing she got wrong. Millie can make dozens of mistakes and her mother says they all need to be more understanding. When boys come to the house, arranged by their father to call on Ruth, they only want to go out with Millie, even though she’s three years younger. Millie is sick of having boys only stare at her chest when they talk to her. She wishes her sister didn’t blame her for everything that’s wrong in her life. Understandably, there is resentment from both girls. You feel for both of their sides and the author writes the dual POV well. This story is set during WW2, but I wouldn’t label it so much a WW2 story as a family saga because there isn’t so much focus on the war. It’s really more focused on the relationship between the two sisters, how their situations change over time as they marry, have children, and come to live together on a military base in 1942, as well as the personal lives of a few other women they’re friends with on base. Told in 1942, and through flashback to earlier periods, it is from multiple perspectives, including that of Lillian, another woman who lives on base, and Arietta, a cook and talented singer (two of my favorites.) As the sisters grow closer, they’re forced to confront hurts and lies between them over the years. This had some really good messages in it. Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Sisters who didn't get along because of jealousy. Sisters who didn't get along because of different ways of looking at things. Sisters who just didn't get along or agree about anything. Ruth and Millie were sisters who fit into those categories. Ruth was older and more reliable. Millie just couldn't focus on anything and was not reliable but earned the favor of their mother and could do no wrong in her eyes. THE WARTIME SISTERS focuses on relationships between the sisters, between a mother and her Sisters who didn't get along because of jealousy. Sisters who didn't get along because of different ways of looking at things. Sisters who just didn't get along or agree about anything. Ruth and Millie were sisters who fit into those categories. Ruth was older and more reliable. Millie just couldn't focus on anything and was not reliable but earned the favor of their mother and could do no wrong in her eyes. THE WARTIME SISTERS focuses on relationships between the sisters, between a mother and her daughters, between other women, and on how everything affected their daily lives. We follow Ruth and Millie from their childhood to the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts during WWII. We see the friction between the sisters during both time periods in their lives. Nothing had changed over the years for them. THE WARTIME SISTERS held my interest because of the well developed characters. Each one had something interesting about themselves and something that truly added to the story line. Lillian was a favorite character for me. She was very nurturing. Ruth was likeable, but a bit too strict and unforgiving. Millie was a bit pitiful because she knew she had made a bad mistake by marrying Lenny, but I liked her. Arietta was the best...I just loved her singing and her cooking. Ms. Loigman's writing is very detailed and pulls you in with the beautiful way she has the words simply grab you. When a small comment was slyly dropped in one of the chapters about a truth Ruth kept from Millie and then a truth Millie had kept from Ruth, the interest definitely was upped. THE WARTIME SISTERS is a beautiful, warm, marvelously researched read. A truly enjoyable book. 5/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 stars This started out very strong, but to me had kind of a lackluster back half. I agree completely with other reviews that say this really isn't WWII fiction; it is more women's fiction. Please note there is nothing wrong with that - I only say that because maybe it will help you to know if you have WWII genre fatigue! (I have a lot of WWII books coming up so it was a relief almost to have the war as really only a backdrop to the story.) The main focus of this book is the relationship betwee 3.5 stars This started out very strong, but to me had kind of a lackluster back half. I agree completely with other reviews that say this really isn't WWII fiction; it is more women's fiction. Please note there is nothing wrong with that - I only say that because maybe it will help you to know if you have WWII genre fatigue! (I have a lot of WWII books coming up so it was a relief almost to have the war as really only a backdrop to the story.) The main focus of this book is the relationship between two sisters that could not be more different. The oldest sister Ruth, is average looking, incredibly book smart and can be seen as cold and calculating because she isn't the most emotive person. Millie is the younger sister who is gorgeous, vivacious and the darling of the family. She often gets into trouble with Ruth because every time a boy comes to dinner as a possible match for her, the boy only has eyes for Millie. This and the other differences mentioned create a lot of understandable tension between the sisters and provides the foundation for further misunderstandings and mistrust when they are older and more is at stake. I really liked how the author gave the reader the opportunity to see both Ruth and Millie's perspectives. I tended to side a little more with the older sister (maybe because I'm the older sister, haha), but when I read the same event through Millie's eyes, I saw where there was a breakdown in communication or a simple misunderstanding that snowballed and it made me think a lot about my interactions with my sister and others in my life. I also enjoyed learning the backgrounds of the secondary characters and thought their stories were extremely interesting. I don't know anyone with a military background so I was very interested to learn about Lillian's upbringing and the daily goings on of the armory in general. Where this started to slide for me was the eventual reveal of the "mysterious figure" from their past and how that tied into the characters we had been following in the book. It seemed kind of anti-climatic to me? I think a bigger event with more national implications would have made it more interesting. Maybe something that could have tied the war into it a little better? These thoughts are completely personal preference, but I say this because the author did such a brilliant job of creating this world and I really felt like I was there in Springfield, MA in 1944 and then it just kind of ended with a rudimentary scheme. (I fail greatly in trying to describe what I really mean because I don't want to give the ending away, so please forgive me.) Overall, I will absolutely read another book by this author as she show tremendous skill in research and bringing characters to life. Where we disagree is how she saw the vision for these characters journey throughout the book, which was different than mine.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Gandhi

    What a delightful and wonderful story!!! For anyone who has a sibling, you will appreciate this story. The story starts off showing how Millie shines and Ruth is the underdog, so to speak. It had me hooked. Anyone who has siblings knows the feeling of one being treated differently than another. Their mother really takes this to a new level. With how these sisters stories were written, I found myself rooting for Ruth in the beginning and then rooting for Millie in the end. I really like how the s What a delightful and wonderful story!!! For anyone who has a sibling, you will appreciate this story. The story starts off showing how Millie shines and Ruth is the underdog, so to speak. It had me hooked. Anyone who has siblings knows the feeling of one being treated differently than another. Their mother really takes this to a new level. With how these sisters stories were written, I found myself rooting for Ruth in the beginning and then rooting for Millie in the end. I really like how the story evolved to Millie being the one to shine in the end. But more so, their relationship as sisters really shined. The author does an exceptional job weaving their stories through the years. I really could not put this book down. The characters are rich in their descriptions and in their roles in the story. They are solid, strong, completely developed and essential to the overall story. I loved every character in this book. This book is a story about relationships - mother/daughter, sister, husband/wife, supportive and non-supportive friends. This was such an enjoyable, beautiful, warm read that needs to be on your list for 2019. My thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    Genre: Historical Fiction. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Pub. Date: Jan. 22, 2019 I didn’t become a history buff until I became a book reviewer. Actually, although I am a baby boomer, I did not know much about WWII, other than the basics that one learns in school and from the movies. Now I am hooked on the genre. However, I was not the target audience for this novel. That is probably because “The Wartime Sisters” is really a women’s fiction tale that is marketed as a historical fiction. I find tha Genre: Historical Fiction. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Pub. Date: Jan. 22, 2019 I didn’t become a history buff until I became a book reviewer. Actually, although I am a baby boomer, I did not know much about WWII, other than the basics that one learns in school and from the movies. Now I am hooked on the genre. However, I was not the target audience for this novel. That is probably because “The Wartime Sisters” is really a women’s fiction tale that is marketed as a historical fiction. I find that often women’s fiction is a bit sappy, usually sad, and often with unrealistic happy endings. (See link if you also have an issue with the reasoning for this particular genre’s name: https://www.theguardian.com/books/boo....) I am not always critical of the genre. If it is well blended with other genres, I can enjoy a good women’s fiction read. For example, I very much enjoyed “The Light Between Oceans,” a prime example of women’s fiction done well. “Oceans” author manages to write a believable heartbreaking drama about fate, love, and moral dilemmas. However, I do not feel that this book accomplishes such a blending, even if it does have moral dilemmas. Also, there is no history in this historical fiction other than its setting simply takes place at the famous Springfield, Massachusetts Armory during WWII. What you will read about in “Wartime” is the lives of the four main female protagonists. Two estranged Jewish sisters, one busy on the gun producing assembly line and the other with office clerical duties. The armory’s Italian Catholic cook who is really a singer, and the Captain’s privileged wife (guessing her character is White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), who is unofficially in charge of the female workers. All these women are hurting due to their own painful secrets. Then there is another character, a villainous officer’s wife who despises all four and tries to bring them down. In the end, the four band-up together to unselfishly save each other (told you, women’s fiction.) Expect one-sided characters. Don't expect any moral ambiguity. To be fair, the reader will get a decent representation of the women who chipped in and sacrificed to help the war efforts. Still, one picture of Rosie the Riveter does it better. I do not think the book is marketed correctly for its own best interest in regard to sales. There may be a larger audience for traditional women’s fiction than historical (just look at the success of the Lifetime TV Channel.) Though this book is not for me, I can think of many friends that would gobble it right up. I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review. Find all my book reviews at: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list... Leave Me Alone I am Reading & Reviewing: https://books6259.wordpress.com/ Twitter: Martie's Book Reviews: https://twitter.com/NeesRecord

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Expressive, thoughtful, and intriguing! The Wartime Sisters is a fascinating, sentimental story of two Jewish sisters, Ruth, the smart, dependable one, and Millie, the beautiful, irresponsible one, and their struggle to understand, accept, support, unite, and show compassion for each other in a time of personal and global instability and turmoil. The writing is clear and precise. The characters are strong, hardworking, and determined. And the plot takes us back to the early 1940s, from Brooklyn, N Expressive, thoughtful, and intriguing! The Wartime Sisters is a fascinating, sentimental story of two Jewish sisters, Ruth, the smart, dependable one, and Millie, the beautiful, irresponsible one, and their struggle to understand, accept, support, unite, and show compassion for each other in a time of personal and global instability and turmoil. The writing is clear and precise. The characters are strong, hardworking, and determined. And the plot takes us back to the early 1940s, from Brooklyn, NY to Springfield, Massachusetts, and tells the story of two lives filled with loneliness, abuse, inequity, friction, discontent, secrets, loss, rivalry, heartbreak, motherhood, friendship, and war. The Wartime Sisters is truly a delightful blend of compelling fiction, historical facts, and heartfelt emotion. It’s an engaging, nostalgic tale that reminds us of the complex relationship that can exist between sisters and highlights Loigman’s remarkable knowledge and research into a time and place often unknown, forgotten or overlooked. Thank you to St. Martins Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    Lynda Loigman has done it again! She has taken familial relationships and set them against a time in history I knew little about and brought the characters and the time period to life. As a fellow Jewish woman, I always like to see how Loigman incorporates Jewish customs to her characters and I enjoyed some subtleties here like Ruth's friend telling her "oh, but at least your husband will be home for Christmas." More than anything, Loigman has written vibrant, memorable characters in Millie and Lynda Loigman has done it again! She has taken familial relationships and set them against a time in history I knew little about and brought the characters and the time period to life. As a fellow Jewish woman, I always like to see how Loigman incorporates Jewish customs to her characters and I enjoyed some subtleties here like Ruth's friend telling her "oh, but at least your husband will be home for Christmas." More than anything, Loigman has written vibrant, memorable characters in Millie and Ruth and peripheral characters like Arietta and Lillian. Using alternating perspectives for sisters Millie and Ruth was an excellent choice as you are able to see why each of them felt and behaved the way they did in their own circumstances - making it hard to pick a side! This is my second foray into Loigman's work and I'll definitely be eagerly awaiting her third. I received an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    The Wartime Sisters, is by the incredible Lynda Loigman, who wrote The Two-Family House. The Wartime Sisters is set on the homefront during World War 2. It features two estranged and very different sisters, one an officer's wife and the other a widow, who reunite at the Springfield Armory. A dark figure from their past reemerges, causing them to face all that has happened -- and each other. Meticulous history, gorgeous prose and a compelling plot make this a standout book! The Wartime Sisters, is by the incredible Lynda Loigman, who wrote The Two-Family House. The Wartime Sisters is set on the homefront during World War 2. It features two estranged and very different sisters, one an officer's wife and the other a widow, who reunite at the Springfield Armory. A dark figure from their past reemerges, causing them to face all that has happened -- and each other. Meticulous history, gorgeous prose and a compelling plot make this a standout book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀

    4 Stars. Ruth and Millie Kaplan are sisters being raised by their parents in Brooklyn, New York during the 1930s. Ruth is a serious girl; introverted, studious, conscientious, a perfectionist. She was hoping for a younger sister who shared her interests. Instead she got Millie, an extroverted girl who makes friends easily, loves to be active, reads movie magazines and wears her heart on her sleeve. To top it all off, Millie is very pretty and Ruth is plain. None of this would necessarily have cau 4 Stars. Ruth and Millie Kaplan are sisters being raised by their parents in Brooklyn, New York during the 1930s. Ruth is a serious girl; introverted, studious, conscientious, a perfectionist. She was hoping for a younger sister who shared her interests. Instead she got Millie, an extroverted girl who makes friends easily, loves to be active, reads movie magazines and wears her heart on her sleeve. To top it all off, Millie is very pretty and Ruth is plain. None of this would necessarily have caused problems between them if their mother hadn’t favored Millie over Ruth. As a result Ruth becomes jealous of Millie and begins to see her only as a rival and nuisance, while Millie sees Ruth and cold and disapproving. When the war begins and a married Ruth is living with her husband at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, she receives word that Millie’s husband has died and feels obligated to offer her a home until she can get on her feet. What follows is a potential disaster built upon years of petty jealousies and misunderstandings. This is a wonderful book; charming in it’s depiction of family life in Brooklyn during the 1930s. This, coupled with a mystery for the second half, makes it a winner.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Sometimes I feel sorry for writers that hit it big the first time they publish a novel, because then the expectations are raised for everything they write thereafter, and so I wondered whether Loigman, the author of A Two Family House, would be able to match the standard she has set for herself. I needn’t have worried, because if anything, The Wartime Sisters is even more absorbing. I was invited to read and review, and my thanks go to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press. This excellent novel will Sometimes I feel sorry for writers that hit it big the first time they publish a novel, because then the expectations are raised for everything they write thereafter, and so I wondered whether Loigman, the author of A Two Family House, would be able to match the standard she has set for herself. I needn’t have worried, because if anything, The Wartime Sisters is even more absorbing. I was invited to read and review, and my thanks go to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press. This excellent novel will be available to the public January 22, 2019. The setting is an armory not far from where the author grew up, one that was an important manufacturing site during World War II. The characters are what drive the story, but Loigman’s intimate understanding of the period’s social mores and the economic impact the war had on women on the home front make it far more resonant. Rather than rely on pop-cultural references to set the tone, she conveys unmistakably what American women were expected to do—and to never do--in this unusual yet unliberated time period. Ruth and Millie are sisters, and yet in some ways they don’t really know each other. Each has built up a personal narrative full of grievances and assumptions about the other over the course of their lives; they are estranged, with Millie back home in Brooklyn and Ruth in Springfield, Massachusetts. Both are married, and both of their husbands have decided to enlist, but otherwise their circumstances are vastly different. Ruth has married well, but when Millie’s husband Lenny is gone and their parents are dead, she has no one to turn to. She has a small child to consider, and during this time period it was unusual for a mother to leave a young child in the care of others. Men worked; women stayed home. And so although she dreads doing it, Millie writes to her older sister Ruth; Ruth doesn’t want to take Millie in, but she does. Both sisters carry a lot of guilt, and each is holding onto a terrible secret. The story alternates time periods and points of view, and the reader will want to pay close attention to the chapter headings, which tell us not only which woman’s perspective is featured, but also what year it is. At the outset we have the present time alternating with their childhoods, and gradually the two time periods are brought together. In addition, we see the viewpoints of two other women that are introduced later in the story. One is Lillian, the wife of a commanding officer; she befriends Ruth and later, Millie. The second is Arietta, the cook that feeds the armory personnel and also sings for them. Although these women’s backgrounds are provided as separate narratives, their main role is to provide the reader with an objective view of Ruth and Millie. I generally have several books going at a time, but I paused my other reading for this one, because I felt a personal obligation to Ruth and to Millie. Family is family, and while I read this story, they were my sisters. You can’t just walk away. Loigman joins women’s fiction and World War II historical fiction masterfully, and if this work reminds me of any other writer, it would be the great Marge Piercy. This book is highly recommended to those that cherish excellent writing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    KarenK2

    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. This book probably should have been categorized under Women's Fiction vs Historical Fiction. Though set during WW 2, the actual war never made an appearance in the book. It was an okay book, the writing was okay, everything was just okay. 3☆ I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. This book probably should have been categorized under Women's Fiction vs Historical Fiction. Though set during WW 2, the actual war never made an appearance in the book. It was an okay book, the writing was okay, everything was just okay. 3☆

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie "Cookie M."

    Novels about families coping with WWII are quite popular now. The memories are facing from our collective history. Parents and grandparents of ours who lived through it are passing on, and the stories of the battles of the homefront could disappear, lost amount facts and figures, battle plans and statistics. We need books like Lynda Cohen Loigman's, "The Wartime Sisters" to put a human face on a difficult time for our country. Many of the struggles faced by Ruth and Millie, the two Jewish sister Novels about families coping with WWII are quite popular now. The memories are facing from our collective history. Parents and grandparents of ours who lived through it are passing on, and the stories of the battles of the homefront could disappear, lost amount facts and figures, battle plans and statistics. We need books like Lynda Cohen Loigman's, "The Wartime Sisters" to put a human face on a difficult time for our country. Many of the struggles faced by Ruth and Millie, the two Jewish sisters in this story could be from any time in the 20th Century, but many of them are unique to 1940's wartime Eastern Seaboard America. Loigman takes us into the world of a munitions manufacturing base that really existed in Springfield, Massachusetts, incorporating real historic events into her story. The sisters battle anti-Semitism, social stigmatization and dangerous, destructive sibling rivalry set up by their parents years ago. It takes tragedy and the help and support of the community around them to repair the sister's relationship. "The Wartime Sisters" was a pleasure to read. I received an ARC From the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    THE WARTIME SISTERS is a totally engrossing story of two estranged sisters who work in an armory during WWII. Each has a deep secret. One is an officer’s wife, the other a war widow. Tensions grow between them until a mysterious figure returns, revealing long-buried truths. Shows the bravery of women toiling on the home front against the uncertain backdrop of war. From the author of Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist The Two-Family House. Highly recommended! Pub Date 22 Jan 2019 Thanks to St. M THE WARTIME SISTERS is a totally engrossing story of two estranged sisters who work in an armory during WWII. Each has a deep secret. One is an officer’s wife, the other a war widow. Tensions grow between them until a mysterious figure returns, revealing long-buried truths. Shows the bravery of women toiling on the home front against the uncertain backdrop of war. From the author of Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist The Two-Family House. Highly recommended! Pub Date 22 Jan 2019 Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are fully mine. #TheWartimeSisters #NetGalley

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    This WWII story concentrates on two sisters with very different temperaments. Ruth is the older, ‘smarter’ one, and Millie, the emotional, ‘pretty’ one. Millie is clearly the parental favorite. Unfair parenting combined with relentless schoolboy’ goo goo eyes for Millie take a toll on the girls’ relationship, leading to buried secrets and long-term estrangement. Millie’s character is a sympathetic one while Ruth less so as I often found her mean and self-centered. The supporting cast was terrific This WWII story concentrates on two sisters with very different temperaments. Ruth is the older, ‘smarter’ one, and Millie, the emotional, ‘pretty’ one. Millie is clearly the parental favorite. Unfair parenting combined with relentless schoolboy’ goo goo eyes for Millie take a toll on the girls’ relationship, leading to buried secrets and long-term estrangement. Millie’s character is a sympathetic one while Ruth less so as I often found her mean and self-centered. The supporting cast was terrific. I especially loved Lillian, the Commander’s wife and Arietta, the opera-singer/cook and how these women could make a difference through kindness and wisdom. They are based on real people. Much of the story takes place at a munitions armory based on a real armory near where the author grew up. Cohenn Loigman was doing local research when she stumbled on the armory’s Forge of Innovation. She found a plethora of related articles and recordings by women who worked on assembly lines as ‘soldiers of production’. Here she found the inspiration for The Wartime Sisters. Her compassion for this dedicated community of women shows. Make sure to read the Acknowledgements by Colhen Loigman. In fact, I wish I read them first. Having ‘insider’s’ vision would have made bits of the story and characterization even better than they already were. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, during the Great Depression but before WWII, wasn’t the worst of Ruth and Millie Kaplan’s existence. It was growing up with each other that took the toll on their daily lives. Ruth was reminded everyday how beautiful Millie was and that everyone must prepare for the day she’ll meet and marry the perfect man. According to her mother Florence, he’ll be college educated, socially registered within the right class, as in Upper; wealthy and ensconced in a proper and prosper Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, during the Great Depression but before WWII, wasn’t the worst of Ruth and Millie Kaplan’s existence. It was growing up with each other that took the toll on their daily lives. Ruth was reminded everyday how beautiful Millie was and that everyone must prepare for the day she’ll meet and marry the perfect man. According to her mother Florence, he’ll be college educated, socially registered within the right class, as in Upper; wealthy and ensconced in a proper and prosperous job. Millie knew how smart Ruth was, how organized, how clever, neat and sensible. Ruth would go to college, get a good job and maybe someday find a nice Jewish husband who would love her, and they would be happy. The girls’ gentle father, Morris tries to keep peace in his family by not arguing with his opinionated wife, Florence and complimenting each daughter on her individual strengths. Ruth eventually meets and marries Arthur, has twin daughters, and lives near her parents before their move to the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. Millie meets and is charmed by Lenny, a sketchy delivery boy, when he accidently knocks on the Kaplan’s door, instead of their neighbor’s. A relationship develops that both pleases and confuses Millie. Her parents, however, are certain Lenny is not the man for Millie. Millie does marry Lenny, but not with the blessing of her parents, which Millie is unaware. Florence and Morris Kaplan die in a car crash on their way back from a wedding in Philadelphia. Five years will pass before the sisters will see each other again. During this time the story continues with Ruth meeting Lillian Walsh, the Armory’s Commanding Officer’s wife, who becomes an important character and new friend to Ruth. When Millie eventually joins Ruth at the Armory, she’ll meet Arieta, another important character and friend to Millie. The story is told from the POV of these four women, who overcome difficult childhoods and facing the odds during wartime help them grow to become better people. Secrets are revealed, apologies are made, and forgiveness moves everyone forward. A stellar read! Highly recommended. Thank you NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue Seligman

    Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel, The Two Family House, written a couple of years ago is one of my all time favorites and I was so excited to hear that her second novel was being published soon. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, and this novel does not disappoint! I loved it, and I am currently in a book hangover! The way she describes her characters and settings makes the reader feel part of the story, feeling the emotions and experiencing the events as if living right in the moment. This Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel, The Two Family House, written a couple of years ago is one of my all time favorites and I was so excited to hear that her second novel was being published soon. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, and this novel does not disappoint! I loved it, and I am currently in a book hangover! The way she describes her characters and settings makes the reader feel part of the story, feeling the emotions and experiencing the events as if living right in the moment. This is a very special talent and essential for a writer to be really successful at her craft. The story is about two sisters who are raised in a very close knit Jewish family in Brooklyn. Ruth is the elder by three years, an average looking but extremely intelligent girl who constantly feels inferior compared to her beautiful younger sister, Millie. Their wonderful but eccentric parents unwittingly contribute to Ruth’s insecurity with comments about their expectations for Millie, which include an inevitable marriage to a prince, while implying that Ruth would be lucky to find anyone. Millie’s faults and misbehavior are ignored while Ruth is expected to conform to a higher standard of behavior. Over the years Ruth unsurprisingly develops a strong resentment of her younger sister, although Millie tries to gain her love and acceptance with compliments. Ruth’s insecurity and resentment are compounded when her dates and friends are attracted to her sister, and when relatives are heard comparing her unfavorably to Millie. No wonder Ruth is filled with anger and resentment. But finally she meets Arthur who seems to love Ruth, not Millie. Meanwhile, Millie somehow ends up with the undesirable and mysterious Lenny, nicknamed the Bum by her parents, and embarks on a path quite different from what her parents had wanted for her. As the famous quote states, “life is what happens when you are making other plans”. When Millie and Arthur move up to Springfield, Massachusetts in order to work in the Armory during World War II, Millie marries Lenny after the death of heir parents. Circumstances force her to move up to live with her sister’s family after Lenny is supposedly killed in service. Although Ruth loves Millie’s little boy, there is still tension in their relationship which the reader soon finds out is due to secrets kept by both women. Along with the characters of Ruth and Millie, we also learn about some of the other women who live and work at the Armory. Lillian, an officer’s wife, and Arietta, a cook/singer are two characters whose stories are also depicted in this wonderful novel. This is a women’s story set against the backdrop of war and life on the home front. The setting of the Armory is very interesting and I learned quite a bit about how women contributed to the war effort during a difficult time in our history. The relationships among the women are strong although there are some thorns and “mean girl”issues evident as well. I love books with the themes of family, friendship, and loyalty and in this regard, this book excels. I highly recommend that you run and get this book when it comes out in January, 2019! Thank you Lynda Cohen Loigman for writing such a great book and sharing it with us. Cannot wait for your next one!

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