“Twin sisters in a Jewish setting who don't meld but find each other late in life.”Linda R wrote this review 3 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I expected this to be more of a relationship book. Its the story of an immigrant family after the Great War, through the depression, and onward, being narrated by the now 85 year old daughter. It's somewhat of a mystery, somewhat of a family story. It was nothing outstanding, though the end picked up a little bit, but the end also made me really dislike a few of the characters. I had higher hopes. ”Becky S wrote this review Sunday, September 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"The Tin Horse" is presented as one of those sweeping family sagas we all love, but in reality was more focused on the events and ideas of an era. Which is fine in and of itself as there is a decent story to go along with it, but "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" this is not. The story flits back and forth between the contemporary tale of a retired lawyer searching for her missing twin sister and that of the sisters growing up in L.A. Elaine makes for a likable and entertaining voice, though admittedly it was the modern story that most held my interest. The history? That's namely what it was, history, with Elaine and her family merely pawns listening to events and discussing ideologies. The latter (liberal, if you're curious) was not preachy enough to bother me (I can't stand such books) as it remains purely characterization, but I could only take so much before I was missing just a good ol' fashioned bit of story. Yet the writing is good, the search for Elaine's sister Barbara one I wanted to see ended, and there is enough thought and emotion to make this worth a read.”Backroads wrote this review Tuesday, August 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Family saga based in Jewish Los Angeles. Two sisters compete, want the same man, and then are separated. Great location, interesting historical background, but just goes on too long! The drama between the sisters seems a bit overdone, but worth reading for the history (pre & post WWII)”Barbara S wrote this review Saturday, July 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Good book about a family. A lot going on in this book but easy reading.”Janey wrote this review Sunday, June 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I won this ARC thru a Goodreads giveaway back in December. This is a great story. I love that this started in the early 1900's. Relationships, family, love, history are all elements that made this book a joy to read. Definitely will read the next story by Janice Steinberg.
“When I started The Tin Horse, I was interested in this family and stories of emigrating from the Old Country to America. The Greensteins, central characters of the story, settle in the community of Boyle Heights on Los Angeles' East Side. Now, Boyle Heights is almost entirely Latino but, in the 20s and 30s of Barbara and Elaine Greenstein's childhood there, it was a predominately Jewish community.
Elaine and Barbara are twin sisters, but they couldn't be any more different. I related to Elaine, the "good girl" of the two. She did what she was told, never thinking (without her sister's influence, that is) of doing anything risky. Barbara, in contrast, lived on the edge. No being safe for her! One of the story's central themes is Elaine's heartbreak when, at 18, Barbara runs away and separates herself not only from the family, but from her twin. (Note: This is not a spoiler--it is noted in the synopsis on the product page.)
The family saga part of this story reminded me a bit of the multi-generational family saga portion of Jeffrey Eugenides' book, Middlesex. The Tin Horse, however, did not keep me interested like that book. Once I got past the part where Barbara leaves in The Tin Horse, it started to get sloggy for me. I never found it a quick flowing read from the start, but after that point it got even slower. I got to where I dreaded picking it up and would even start new books rather than continue with this one.
This is a real shame, because the writing is quite good. I see that there are substantially more 5-star reviews of The Tin Horse than any other rating, so that would appear to mean that most people didn't have the trouble I did staying interested in this story. Had this story kept my interest, it would have easily gotten 4 stars; since it didn't, I felt I had to give it 3.
If historical fiction and family sagas are your preference, you are likely to enjoy this a lot more than I did. ”
“First of all, I read this book because my grandparents lived in this area of California when my dad was a child; but by the time I came along they had long since moved. I recently found out about this bit of family history after my dad died. My dad, like one of the twins in this novel, never embraced his Jewishness, and like many refugees from Eastern Europe and other soviet blocked countries, his parents didn’t speak, at least around us, about the old country. I feel grateful that Janice Steinberg brought this time and place alive, and that I got so much more than a history lesson.
It is the story of twins, Barbara and Elaine, growing up in the 1930’s in Boyle Heights California. Elaine, who is in her 80’s is getting ready to move into a retirement community, and as she downsizes, she comes across something that brings back memories of her sister Barbara, who had walked away from the family and disappeared right before America’s involvement in WWII. Elaine’s search for what had happened to Barbara makes this an emotionally charged 5 star mystery. Be advised that there are adult situations and some sexual content that would not be suitable for some readers.
“This family drama novel is quite an entertaining one! Of course, dating back to my infatuation with the Sweet Valley series, I have always been a sucker for twin stories. And while Elaine and Barbara share little in common with the Wakefield twins, their story is a fun one, peppered with the mystery of just where Barbara disappeared to just after their high school graduation. Elaine, at 85, prepares to move from her home to a retirement community and in the process, her and her archivist (Elaine has had quite an illustrious life as a prominent lawyer) uncover new clues to Barbara’s whereabouts. Alternating between Elaine’s present and her recollections of growing up along with her sister in their diverse LA neighborhood, the story spans some of the most eventful decades in this nation’s history. Touching on memories of the effects of both World Wars, the Great Depression, this narrative is an engrossing one. Each character - both minor and major - really come to life. While the present Elaine works to track down Barbara’s current whereabouts, her memories and examinations of her childhood, adolescence and adulthood are truly fascinating. It is a novel that is sure to spark discussions and would be a lovely choice for discussion groups or classrooms. The conclusion does feel a bit abrupt, but I am sure that will add to a lively discourse on the book. ”Victoria K wrote this review Monday, May 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No