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A Brooklyn Rose

Suzanna Lonchar

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published : 2003

Copyright : Suzanna Lonchar 2003

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4564-7199-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4564-7199-6

Publisher's Write-Up

Imagine living next door to the famous Bonnano crime family or being held hostage by a gangster during a shoot-out or hiding Al Capones guns in your shoeshine box!

This story lets you enter a world where extraordinary circumstances were merely everyday events. The Finazzo family travelled from Sicily to America in search of the fabled 'American Dream,' only to find poverty, tragedies, prison, death, and even murder. It was the era of prohibition, speakeasies, and later The Great Depression... gangsters, racketeers, and the mafia that corrupted the neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, where they migrated.

This true story tells how each family member was affected by this extraordinary environment. Rosie leads you through her many heart-wrenching, yet sometimes, hilarious, adventures as she struggles to survive on the streets of Brooklyn. At age ten her character is hardened by poverty, murder, death, hunger, and the sound of screams from her mother's pain as she suffers with cancer. Rosie steals to eat, cusses, smokes and boxes.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Molly Martin (300417) Rating (9/10)

Review by Molly Martin
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 9/10

It was during the early 1900s when an Italian émigré family seeking a new life said good bye to family, friends and the land of their birth travelled across the sea to America. Filled with hope, Sicilian Francesco Finazzo, his wife Giroloma and their baby begin their new life in New York City.

The family numbers climbed to five children when Giroloma, watching from an upstairs window in 1911, sees her dearly loved husband shot dead on the sidewalk below.

The time near the turn of the 1900s century on Brooklyn streets is an era of horse drawn wagons, push carts and multi languages abounded as the immigrant population bringing with them many of their old familial mores and customs settled into their new homes.

Francesco’s younger brother, Luiji, now is facing a true predicament. A newly arrived immigrant himself Luiji is engaged to be married. Following Luiji’s receiving of his brother Francesco’s a letter urging him to come to New York Luiji is only nineteen years old, but family tradition dictates his action. He marries his brother’s pregnant twenty-nine year old widow. Job opportunities to work to earn income were few in that day; and were especially so when the woman was one with four young children to care for.

Luiji and Giroloma settle into a predictable life which at the beginning is dominated by obligation and social mores, and later by true fondness for one another. Giroloma carries eleven children, however, typical of the time she does not get to raise them all. Following the model of her own mother, as a little one was born, during their twenty years of marriage, one of the older kids was assigned the task to be teacher and caretaker for the little one.

Gangster funerals, police prejudice and racial tension are all part of the ever changing scene in which this family lives.

When Giroloma dies of cancer at the relatively ‘old age’ of the time; Luiji after two decades of successful marriage to his brother’s wife has watched his brother’s children all become adults, his familial and social obligation are completed and he sets out for Detroit, Michigan with his own three teenaged children. At last, Luiji will have the chance to marry the woman to whom he was engaged in Sicily previous to Francesco’s untimely demise and Luiji life took an unexpected and major turn.

The reader is offered a glance into life as seen through the eyes of a pretty representative family living in Brooklyn from late 1800s to 1939 via writer Lonchar’s well written work. Via Lonchar’s skilled pen A Brooklyn Rose abounds with the demonstration, echo and fragrance of early 20th century New York City apartment building life. The reader is drawn into the narrative from the opening page when Giroloma is dismayed to see her husband killed before her eyes. Interest is held fast right down to the last lines when Luiji and his three kids are settling into their new home and new life many miles from New York.

Lonchar provides an abundance of verification regarding her proficiency as a writer in this nicely crafted work in which she relates her family lore set against the commotion of a turbulent city filled with tumult and hullabaloo.

A Brooklyn Rose is named for Luiji and Giroloma’s daughter, Rose Finazzo, who is Lonchar’s mother.

With detailed descriptions of foods, habits, behaviours, language and dress set against the turbulence of the émigré locality positioned against a backdrop of early Brooklyn, New York City the narrative grants the reader an enhanced understanding of the social history of the time when it is simply accepted that in Little Italy, no matter previous plans or persons, a brother must marry his sibling’s widow.

In the early 1900s it is also accepted that those living on the lower end of the wealth and social scale will quietly put up with narrow-mindedness and prejudice, and, that the children of poor people were frequently considered as little more than chattel by the newly formed social organizations developed to supposedly shield them.

Family traditions, an amazing childhood along with the privation and destitution enmeshing most of society experienced from living through The Great Depression are all found on the pages of A Brooklyn Rose. Lonchar adds just enough broken English dialog to flavor the tale.

A Brooklyn Rose is a good book for a long lazy afternoon spent in sipping iced tea, reading and sitting in the porch swing on the front porch. Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend. Who enjoy a nice reminisce slice of life type work.
Molly Martin (30th April 2017)

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