Bittersweet Brooklyn by Thelma Adams highlights a Jewish immigrant family living in Brooklyn in the 1900's-1930's. The novel opens with Thelma being tapped by her brother and his mob-involved friends to dispose of a body in her brother's apartment. The story then weaves throughout time and you see how she got there.
From early childhood Thelma suffers physical abuse from her older sister Annie and neglect from her mother. Her mother remarries and she further suffers abuse from her new husband Moritz. Her brothers are the only ones that seem to have her back until her sister manipulates her mother into sending them away to an orphanage. There, brothers Abie and Louis learn they have to be tough to survive. That need for survival starts early on and carries them into being tough on the streets.
The story continues to follow Thelma's evolution into a young woman as she navigates her mother and sister's disdain for her while trying to remain close with her brothers. Her brother Abie soon develops a tough reputation on Brooklyn's 14th street that he carries with him into the world of organized crime. Thelma finds herself more entangled then ever when she begins to ask herself what she's willing to do to protect the brother she loves...
For lover's of historical fiction, especially New York in the early 1900's, this is an incredibly well written character driven novel. If you are looking for an action-packed mob thriller - you won't find that here. Instead, you'll find a beautifully crafted exploration of an immigrant family trying to survive this Brooklyn landscape in a time that seemed impossible. You'll feel every dark and dangerous circumstance this family faces as you span the years of their evolution in New York.