Sunday Book Review – Lily by Stevie Turner #Shortstory

Welcome back to my Sunday Book Reviews. Today’s review is for Stevie Turner’s latest novella – Lily, a family saga and women’s coming of age story. Turner knows how to touch our hearts in this one where I was addictively drawn into to Lily’s life.





Lily is 92 and failing in health. Her family told her she was going on a little holiday, and although she finds herself still on her beloved Isle of Wight, to her horror she is now living permanently in a residential home at the mercy of Bridie, the ‘horrible’ one.

To make what is left of her life happier she thinks about years gone by, and once again wonders about the strange disappearance of her 14 year old sister Violet in 1897. Her depression lifts when another new resident manages to shed some light on the 76 year old mystery……


My 5 Star Review:

A heartfelt family saga focusing on Lily – now a 93 year old resident in a nursing home, recanting her earlier life starting back in the late 1800s, growing up with her 2 sisters -one who was mysteriously taken away from home as a young teen with a ‘dreaded sickness’ – never to return.

Lily shares her history in thought and her memories of growing up and marrying her beloved Artie and the children they raised together. Now, in 1973, Lily has suffered a stroke and is now living in assisted living, unable to speak from the stroke, in a wheelchair, but her memory is sharp as a tack.

Lily gets a new roommate and the secrets of the past come to make sense as the mystery of what happened to her missing sister is revealed. The characters in this story are so beautifully fleshed out, and Lily stole my heart as I eagerly turned each page. A thoroughly engaging story all the way through a most satisfying ending, I read it straight through in one sitting, #Recommended reading!


Sunday Book Review – Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

My Sunday Book Review for James Cudney’s – Watching Glass Shatter. An interesting family saga with lots of hidden secrets revealed.







After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

While an attorney searches for answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?



My 5 Star Review:

This book was an interesting read from Cudney. I’d classify it as a family saga genre as the story evolves around the widow Olivia and her five grown children.

Although the blurb comes right out with the fact that Ben switched the baby, making it sound rather cruel and deceitful, I didn’t find that was the case, as the baby switch was done with consent from the birth mother – still a big no no for Ben not letting his wife know until after he died, but nothing shady.

The plot focuses on what happens after Ben’s death with the will, the baby secret, and then we are taken into the lives of each of their children. Each son has a cross to bear in their lives. We learn this through Olivia’s decision after Ben’s death to visit each of her children to spend quality time with them before the reading of the will. Through each visit, we learn about each of her son’s redeeming and not so redeeming features – their lives, their misgivings, and some very surprising secrets.

Throughout reading the story we learn what propelled each character to become ensconced into each of their dilemmas. Olivia learns a lot about her children she never knew previously. And not until almost the very end do we learn about the story of the baby switch, which somehow didn’t feel like the highlight of the story anymore as we got caught up in the drama of each of the character’s lives.

The story was well written with interesting characters – some of them drew in my sympathy, some left me questioning why they acted as they did. But with a nice and satisfactory ending, I enjoyed this book. #Recommended.




Sunday Book Review – The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter – Joan Lipinsky-Cochrane

My Sunday Book Review – The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter by Joan Lipinsky Cochran. I had this book on my Kindle and finally got to it while on vacation, buried among many books. I originally purchased the book because of my interest in the old mobster days of Miami Beach. Combine that history with a good old family saga, it was a fun read.





Since separating from her philandering husband, Boca Raton writer Becks Ruchinsky has struggled to build a closer relationship with her quirky and contentious father, Tootsie, who lives in a retirement home. One evening, as she and her father are relaxing on the home’s front porch, an elderly woman accuses Tootsie of having murdered her husband fifty years earlier.

Tootsie admits to ratting on the man, who’d cheated their Jewish syndicate boss out of thousands of dollars, but denies killing the widow’s husband. He also admits to having friends in the Jewish mafia and shares stories about his experiences. But the more time she spends with her father, the more convinced Becks becomes that Tootsie is lying about his involvement. Determined to discover the truth about her dad’s past, she sets out on a journey to undercover his darkest secrets. She learns he worked for the Jewish mafia –running numbers for the Cuban lottery, beating up Nazi sympathizers, and smuggling arms to Israeli independence fighters. When she learns that he murdered his best friend and, possibly, his own brother, she must decide if she can accept his criminal past – or cut him out of her life.

The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter also explores the impact our parents’ relationships have on our own. Throughout the book, Becks challenges her father on his infidelity toward her mother and becomes frustrated by his refusal to acknowledge that what he did was hurtful to his entire family. She’s upset when Tootsie minimizes her husband’s affair and encourages her to take him back. Ultimately, Becks realizes that she cannot forgive her husband for cheating until she comes to terms with her father’s infidelities…and her mother’s willingness to put up with them.

A gripping and thought-provoking murder mystery, this award-winning novel explores the colorful and precarious world of the 1940s and 1950s Jewish mafia . . . and the limits of familial love.


My 5 Star Review:

Becks Ruchinsky, culinary writer, brings us into this family saga/murder mystery. Becks is going through a separation with her husband Daniel and struggles with taking him back because of memories of her mother putting up with her own philandering father. Despite past hurts, Becks maintains a relationship with her father Tootsie, where she drives from her Boca Raton, Florida residence to his retirement home in Miami every Sunday to keep the family ties alive. Through some of their conversations, Becks learns  about the some of the antics her father participated in, in his earlier gangster years where he got caught up with the Jewish mob that reigned Miami in the 50s.

Becks’s curiosity gets the better of her after learning about some of her father’s family secrets and decides to do some investigating of her own into some of the shady characters Tootsie hung out with but refuses to get more into detail about. The more she learns, the more she questions her father’s morality.

Becks finds her own life spiraling into a world of trouble when she digs a little too far and finds the past coming back to bite, threatening her own life. When she finally learns the truth about what transpired, how her uncle really died, and a few other close to home murders of the past, Becks questions her own family values and wonders if she can continue on with a relationship with her father after finding out his crimes – wondering if their relationship can continue once the truth comes out.

The story is told from both, Becks’ and Tootsie’s perspective. Well written, odd moments of humor and well researched on the era of the ‘old days’ in Miami Beach with plenty of Yiddish expressions used by old timer Tootsie.