The Winthrop Agreement: A Novel
“After what seemed an endless fourteen-day journey across the wave-tossed Atlantic in the belly of a filthy, overcrowded steamship . . . fifteen-year-old Rivkah Milmanovitch . . . wept for having survived the voyage and the idea of a new life awaiting her in America.” Yet disappointment awaits. Such was the truth for many immigrants at the end of the 19th century, especially in New York where this story takes place.
Unfortunately, Rivkah’s husband is not on the pier waiting for her as promised. To add to her woes, she is pregnant. Fortunately, a friend from the Old Country immigrated to New York several years earlier. Finding her old friend is difficult but find her she does.
If one could find work it is in a sweat shop, which were breeding grounds for all manner of diseases, primarily tuberculosis. Living quarters are slum houses. The author describes both quite vividly. This is not Rivkah’s world of dreams.
The author spins a wonderful story of hope, determination, and achievement. It is an exciting story that is well written. Each of the characters are superbly developed. The narrative is such that the reader can picture themselves there watching things as they transpire.
You can feel the tension in the villain as “his left hand was tightened into a tight fist through which blood coursed in every finger, pressing, throbbing as though it had a life of its own-an animal held in its grip.” You can visualize it. “She wore a gown of her own creation, in signature cream silk-simple, slender, and perfectly draped-and outrageous in its originality.” Again, you can envision it, such is the well-written description. You will be stunned when you watch this bad guy “grabbing for rocks along the lip, one after another they came loose, with nothing for his hands to grasp, and as much as he tried to find his balance and foothold, the slimy floor of the pond pulled him deeper.”
Things are not always what they seem. The author has done a masterful job of creating a story that is exciting, mysterious, and entertaining.