The Wartime Sisters

The Wartime Sisters

by Lynda Cohen Loigman


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For fans of Lilac Girls, the next powerful novel from the author of Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist The Two-Family House about two sisters working in a WWII armory, each with a deep secret.

"Loigman’s strong voice and artful prose earn her a place in the company of Alice Hoffman and Anita Diamant, whose readers should flock to this wondrous new book." —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

"The Wartime Sisters shows the strength of women on the home front: to endure, to fight, and to help each other survive.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Lost Family and Those Who Save Us

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.

"One of my favorite books of the year." —Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Masterpiece

"A stirring tale of loyalty, betrayal, and the consequences of long-buried secrets.” —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost and Sold on a Monday

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250140708
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 84,901
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. Lynda practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years before moving out of the city to raise her two children with her husband. She wrote The Two-Family House while she was a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as a best book of the month for March, 2016, and was nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. The Wartime Sisters is her second novel.

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The Wartime Sisters: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
With WWII as the setting, the story focuses on the relationship of two sisters. The story is interesting, well-paced and keeps your attention. It’s a good read!
Anonymous 10 days ago
well written
Anonymous 3 months ago
Well written, the characters were easy to relate to and brought to mind family and sibling rivalry. I will look for this author again!
KrittersRamblings 11 months ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Two sisters who have had a troubled past end up in the same home again as adults and the dramas of the past are going to come boiling up and may just explode. Ruth and Millie are two sisters that are complete opposites and they have been battling since their childhood. Ruth is living in Massachusetts and Millie needs to escape New York and with nowhere else to go, Millie retreats to Ruth's house. Yes this book is titled The Wartime Sisters, but I would say this book is mostly about the sister relationship that just so happens to take place during a war. Bring a sister is such an interesting and complicated relationship and this book showed that relationship to a T. It was so accurate it was scary!
Bev_Ash More than 1 year ago
I read The Two-Family House and loved it. The Wartime Sisters is just as good. Millie and Ruth are two sisters that have never gotten along and neither has had a happy life. At the beginning of the war they are brought back together. The book goes from past to present to past again as their lives are explained. The plot was well written. It held my interest to the very end and kept me guessing all the way. The characters became like neighbors and I enjoyed them all. This is definitely a book that will stay with you for a while. I really enjoyed reading it. I received this ebook free from NetGalley for an honest review.
nanaoftwo More than 1 year ago
I'm almost finished with this book "Wartime Sisters". It is a fantastic read. My husband grew up in Springfield and I moved to the area after we god married. So enjoy hearing the names of "Johnsons Bookstore" , a favorite place of both of us and our child when she was young. Steigers Tea Room that I would go to with my Mother-in-Law. Even if you didn't grow up in that area I highly recommend this book because the story is wonderful. Thant you Lynda Cohen Loegman for the blast from the past.
LGandhi More than 1 year ago
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.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Wartime Sisters is a traditional story about two sisters who fail to get along (sounds like me and my sister). It is more a women’s fiction novel than a historical book. The focus of the book is the two sisters and their rivalry. The author accurately captured the dynamics between the sisters along with the feelings (resentment, bitterness, jealousy, the feeling of inadequacy). Ruth was jealous of Millie from the moment she was born. The more people admired Millie, the more Ruth’s resentment grew. Matters are not helped by the mother doting on Millie and her insistence that Millie will marry well one day. When Ruth starts dating and the men are more captivated by Millie, it causes the rift between the sisters to grow to the size of the grand canyon. Each sister has a secret and you know they will eventually find a way to come out. I liked the setting of the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, but we are not told enough about it. I wanted more about the facility, the war, and the less about the animosity between the sisters. Rivalry also exists between women in such a close atmosphere as the armory. The ending felt rushed. I thought it lacked emotion and realism. It seemed that this story could have been set in any place or any time period and it would still play out the same way. I found The Wartime Sisters to be lacking (at least for me). I thought it was a predictable story. My rating for The Wartime Sisters is 3 out of 5 stars. While The Wartime Sisters was not my cup of tea, those who enjoy feel-good stories (like those on Lifetime or Hallmark Channel) will enjoy the happy ending.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
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.
mkdmom More than 1 year ago
Although this book is set during WWII, I believe the "Wartime" in the title refers more to the war between the two sisters during their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of two sisters, Ruth and Millie, who grew up in Brooklyn and later moved to Springfield, MA. Ruth, the older sister, was always bitterly jealous of her younger sister Millie. Even though Ruth was more intelligent, Millie attracted all the attention because she was attractive and kind. Ruth's jealousy proceeded to turn her into a very hard and bitter person. She showed very little love at all to Millie because of this. Millie, meanwhile is a very sympathetic character. Life throws her some curveballs and even without her sister's support, she is able to handle them. I also liked the supporting characters of Lillian and Arietta and their stories also. As always, I am a big fan of WWII fiction and while this book wasn't a heavy historical read, I did enjoy that it was set during this time period. Will definitely be reading more books from this author.
Dmaxtownsend More than 1 year ago
Sisters. This must-read book is a study of women and their sisters, whether chosen or familial. We cherish our friends: viewing them as our sister is the ultimate compliment. Those of us who have even one of these wonderful friends are indeed fortunate. But for Ruth and Millie, having a sister is a bit more dicey. The Wartime Sisters is a sensitive study of sisterhood and friendships and finding our real sisters amidst life’s struggles. The women in the story are finely drawn, and strongly representative of society. From the snippy gossip to the opera-singing cook to the undereducated mother raising her child . . . we recognize these women. Enter WWII when the sisters reunite at the Springfield Armory community which supplies armaments for the military. The war effort and Armory setting is fascinating in its richness and complexity allowing the differing “classes" to meet and develop friendships which would not have been otherwise possible. I love this setting and the author’s devotion to the history and significance of women’s contributions to the war effort. This is an exceptional study of women’s struggles and successes, heartbreaks and loves. Don’t miss this one!
CynB More than 1 year ago
The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman The Wartime Sisters, by Lynda Cohen Loigman, is an unusual entry in the World War II genre in that it is squarely set within the United States war effort to arm our forces overseas. The title encompasses the community of women who find themselves thrown together by chance and circumstance as well as two particular women. At the center of this engrossing and intense story is the complex relationship of two sisters who have been at odds most of their lives. They are almost complete opposites in their appearance, talents, challenges, and values. Their childhood conflicts, shaped in part by inadvertent parental influences, have hardened into adult distance and mistrust. The older sister is at the Springfield Armory as the wife of an officer only to have her younger sister ask for refuge in her home as a war widow seeking employment on the assembly line. Loigman captures the emotional torment of both sisters as they struggle with each other and the new circumstances in which they find themselves. Loigman portrays two generations and four marriages with nuance and empathy. Even secondary characters are fully rounded and memorable. Frankly, I hated to leave them on the last page and have reflected on the family dynamics several times since. I highly recommend this novel. I learned a lot about the war effort on the home front. Readers will be captivated by the characters, plot, and writing. Thanks so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. #TheWartimeSisters #NetGalley
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story of the tension that can occur between two sisters. These sisters believe they are very different and grow apart as they get older. They are reunited during WWll in Springfield, Massachusetts and need to learn each other’s secrets. There are secrets and intrigue. I enjoyed both sisters. I received a copy of this book through Netgalley for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
IrishEyes430 More than 1 year ago
Two sisters. As seen in their parents' eyes, Ruth is the plain, smart sister and Millie is the beautiful sister who isn't scholastically talented. Each one has their own secret. It's no surprise that they grow distant. Ruth has married and lives at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, while Millie stays in Brooklyn. Naturally there is sibling rivalry between the two, which is fostered by their parents' expectations. Set against a backdrop of WWII, Ruth is an officer's wife with a prestigious job. Millie arrives on her doorstep as a war widow and Ruth feels forces to take her in. However the past is not forgotten and while keeping their secrets, it's a difficult situation for both of them. This book gives a very interesting portrait of WWII that I was not familiar with and found very interesting.
Jclsmom More than 1 year ago
A novel about two Brooklyn sisters, born three years apart, completely different in every way, trying to mend old wounds while supporting the war efforts. Millie and Ruth grew up with loving parents who only wanted the best for each of them. Ruth is the serious, studious older sister, while Millie is the beautiful, flighty, social sister. Driving home from a family wedding, both of their parents are killed in a car accident leaving Ruth and Millie with only each other as family. Can they overcome the age old sister arguments and jealousies to become friends? I devoured this book in two days. I loved the telling of the story from four main perspectives: Ruth, and Millie, as well as two mutual friends the sisters meet in Springfield, Lillian and Arietta. As you read between their early years growing up in Brooklyn, and their later years in Springfield, along with small glimpses into the backgrounds of both Arietta and Lillian, the author weaves a novel of friendship and sisterhood you don’t want to put down. I received an Advanced Review Copy if this book. All opinions are my own.
MsArdychan More than 1 year ago
Please Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way. I love historical fiction, particularly when it's about the 1940's and WWII. I guess it's because it's hard to imagine such a colossal event as a worldwide war. I honestly can't imagine this happening now. The Wartime Sisters, by Lynda Cohen Loigman, is full of fascinating details about life at that time. It's also a dark family drama about the animosity between two sisters. Which war are they fighting in: World War II or their own private conflict? Their story was riveting. What I Liked: Setting: The novel begins in 1930's Brooklyn. The two sisters, Ruth and Millie, are constantly being compared by their parents. Millie seems to be favored due to her stunning looks, which causes resentment in Ruth. Both Brooklyn, and later Springfield, Massachusetts, are shown in positive and negative light. On the one hand, Brooklyn seems like a place of lively comradeship among the neighbors. People look out for each other. But people must also watch out for nosy busybodies. Springfield also has it's share on helpful and troublesome residents. With the war going in the 1040's, paranoia makes everyone a suspected saboteur. Historical Details: The details of life at this time are so plentiful. One can tell the author worked hard to make the Springfield Armory come to life, with all the frantic activity of thousands of people coming together to support the war effort. One scene of an Armory dance was particularly memorable. The fact that the organizers had to have various start times to accommodate all the shift workers really brings home how hard these people were working. Characters: At first, I found Ruth to be really petty, getting so upset about how people fawned over Millie. But later, I came to see how boxed in Ruth must have felt. Ruth, the responsible older sister, felt she had to be perfect. She could see how Millie wasn't held accountable for anything simply because of her looks. I would probably resent being the responsible child, too! But Millie did have expectations thrust upon her. Her mother assumes that Millie will find a rich man to marry. Being so pretty, men assume that she will be sexually eager when they go on dates. When Millie rebels and starts seeing a handsome (but disreputable) man, her mother is livid. With so many people telling her she is only valuable for her looks, it's no wonder Millie feels so helpless. Story: The story revolves around Ruth and Millie's relationship. Both have a hard time connecting with each other due to many misunderstandings. There are several moments when the sisters could have made choices to support each other, but there would be no story, right? I do think this was pretty realistic, albeit frustrating as a spectator to read.
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
This is the story of two estranged sisters, Ruth and Millie, who find themselves reunited at the Springfield Armory, where Ruth's husband works. It is the early days of WWII, and women are needed for positions in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are spilled, threatening to break the bond of family once and for all. You know the saying about how 'the grass is always greener'? Well, that is the way it was with Ruth and Millie. Ruth was the smart one, Millie was the pretty one. To further drive a wedge, their mother was always critical of Ruth and doting of Millie. There were times when I just wanted to shake Ruth and make her see how great her own life was and to just appreciate Millie for who she was. I really enjoyed the storyline, and it kept my interest, and made me want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is definitely a must-read for historical fiction fans
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me start this off by saying I'm a huge fan of historical fiction from the WWII era. I've read a LOT of books from that time period, so achieving four and a half meows from me is an achievement. But this one isn't completely about the war - more so, the complex relationships during the war and how it brings some people together or pulls them apart. The Wartime Sisters started off as a story I can relate to within the first two chapters. Have you ever fought with a sibling? Maybe you felt like your parents treated you both differently with different sets of expectations? Maybe there was jealously, some resentment in there? Ruth can tell you all about how her sister is the pretty one and how her parents make her feel like she should dumb herself down to attract a man. Millie can tell you about how dull Ruth is with her math and little sense of adventure. But things change as they grow up and their parents pass away unexpectedly. The secrets these two keep from each other are big ones that impacted the outcome of paths of their lives. When tragedy seems to strike again, they find themselves reunited in Springfield where one is the wife of a war officer and the other is a war widow. The relationships with other women on the base threaten to tear them apart again or bring them back together.  The author does a wonderful job of exploring complex relationships and how each character seems themselves and others. You experience characters growing and learning and you start rooting for them to stand up for themselves. I was so sad when this book ended! If this WWII-era relationships and secrets is something you're into, you'll definitely want to read this !
NewportBookMom More than 1 year ago
This story of two estranged sisters during WWII, separated and then reconnecting at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, hooked me from the first page. Each chapter is rich with poignant details - alternating between their lives growing up in Brooklyn to their adult world as wartime women and employees at the Springfield Armory. At its core this is a story of the diverging paths of two young women who both struggle to separately establish their own identity and define their own path to womanhood. Some of those struggles are surely relevant today in the world of MeToo, and it's somewhat interesting to see how these same challenges were framed in an earlier era where 'husbands as providers' was not only considered the norm, but valued as the ideal that shaped the dreams of many mothers and daughters. One of my favorite historical fiction novels in recent memory, i highly recommend The Wartime Sisters to those who love stories that bring a WWII backdrop to a compelling women's coming of age drama. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
OrangeCountyReaders More than 1 year ago
This is a historical fiction title set in the early 1940s in Springfield, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York. The main story revolves around Ruth and Millie and their relationship as adults.
To begin, I was interested in the sisters and how Ruth felt so threatened by Millie her younger sister. Ruth was so abrasive and "woe is me" always complaining that her sister got preferential treatment. Even years later they have become estranged and distant.
There are hints about a great big secret between the sisters. When we hear Millie’s side, she seems to want her sister’s approval desperately. She has made poor decisions and wants to escape them. I did feel sorry for her.
Moving along, Millie and her young son go to live with Ruth and her husband at the Springfield Armory. They are both hoping they might reconnect as sisters and adults.
Lillian and Arietta were lovely additions to the cast. They showed kindness and generosity and they were strong and important secondary characters.
The Springfield Armory is a real place in Massachusetts and the author does a great job of imagining and filling in the blanks of this historic site and I could really picture the town square.
In the end, I was fairly entertained by this story of strong women overcoming past wrongs for the sake of family, but I wouldn't necessarily call it historical fiction - it felt more like a women's drama set during wartime.
LawladyCase More than 1 year ago
The Wartime Sisters is an emotional and tragic journey through the relationship of two sisters who want a close relationship but embrace the secrets that prevent it. Ruth and Millie are only three years apart but it is more than age that separates them. Ruth is plain and shy. Millie is beautiful and vivacious. As their family and the community reacts to their personalities the wedge grows wider. Circumstances prevail which separate the two in both logistics and as sisters. It is also circumstances that bring them back together in Springfield, Massechuetts. This is a superbly written book. I love the way the author presented the story. Millie and Ruth are the main characters, but we are also able to see inside the person and circumstances of two other characters, Lillian and Arietta. This allows us to delve into the motivation and strength of these two women, as well. It makes for a much more satisfying story. Everything about this book it written well. The characters are well developed and intricate. The scenes are complete and easily imagined. The story itself is well paced and the plot is slowly revealed through the characters, as it should be. Well done, Ms. Loigman. I received an eBook ARC from St. Martin press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.
Rhonda-Runner1 More than 1 year ago
I consider this book Historical Fiction at its finest. Ruth, a plain, studious, stubborn girl has a younger sister Millie who is beautiful and the source of constant attention and sibling rivalry. The story starts out as they are growing up in Brooklyn, NY, 1919-1932. The girls both marry, Ruth to an Army scientist and Millie to a handsome guy with no ambition. Then the story then goes to the WWII Armory in Springfield, MA where Ruth and her husband Arthur live. Circumstances force Millie and her son to move to Springfield to live with Ruth and her family in 1942 after WWII has begun. The story goes back and forth between the two time periods but not in a confusing way. There are a number of very solid likable characters in this book who add a lot to this complex story line. The girls both have secrets and there are twists and turns in this fascinating book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Historical Fiction. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars 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.
MatteaLC More than 1 year ago
I read the, debut novel of Lynda Cohen Loigman, The Two Family House, and loved it. So, it was a no brainer, that I would be thrilled to read her second one., The Wartime Sisters. I was not disappointed, and loved it as well. This story is one of a fractured relationship between sisters, Millie and Ruth, raised in Brooklyn. Their mother, obviously favoring the beautiful Millie over studious, plainer Ruth, unwittingly creates an atmosphere of jealousy and angst between the sisters. The timeline alternates between childhood and teen years, to the adults they become. This is a story of sibling discord, destructive favoritism and the remnants of a mother’s mistakes. We experience the war effort of women, doing their part to fight an unseen enemy, while reveling in the wonderful music of that era and the comfort it provided, during unsettling times. If you like historical fiction, this will satisfy your craving. I thank NetGalley, St Martins Press and Lynda Cohen Loigman for this ARC for my honest review.
PBDeb More than 1 year ago
The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman This story with a WWII backdrop will appeal to many book clubs, as a lifetime of sibling rivalry takes two sisters along different paths to a satisfying resolution. I would also recommend this book for anyone interested in how women played an important role in the munitions factories during WWII, specifically at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts during the war years. Ruth and Millie are two very different siblings guarding secrets and lifelong hurts. As they mature and their lives once again intersect, they are afforded many opportunities to resolve their conflicts. But, just as in real life, many of these chances are just too painful to face. The novel is told in alternating chapters for each sister between childhood and adulthood, with the addition of chapters for a couple of influential friends. I found some confusion in a few chapters in the transition between the first and second paragraphs of the chapter. Are we still in childhood or adulthood? It wasn’t always clear until further reading. Also, and this may be particular to this reader, but I had some confusion with the character names of Millie and Lillian, both being “illi” names. Also, other than introducing some Yiddish words, phrases and holiday traditions, I didn’t see that the girls being Jewish played any role in the narrative. Their religion was never a hindrance nor a help to either of them throughout the story. All in all, the story moved along smoothly with the author’s good eye to descriptions of food, clothing, fashion and personalities of the period. It was a most enjoyable read.