Cover Image: Stitching a Life

Stitching a Life

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Member Reviews

1900 mostly biographical of Helen Fein. Helen and her family are from Lithuania. They are a Jewish family. The Germans have begun to take 12-year-old Jewish boys into service for many years, where they are treated badly. Helen's family devises a plan for them to all move to New York. Her father goes over first and gets a job, then sends for Helen, who also has a job lined up. They both work hard and earn the money for the rest of their family. They're all a hard-working bunch. The separation, then having to learning new trades was daunting, but they learned quickly their new jobs in the new world. 
Good read. 
I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
#StitchingaLife #NetGalley
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This was a great book, and I loved the fact that it was based off true events from the author's own grandmother! It was a very touching family story, and appropriate for all ages. Great job.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for my copy of this book. All reviews expressed are my own, and I have not been obligated to leave a positive review.
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I am sorry but never got around to reading this one and it is now archived. My apologies. I had a death in my family and haven't been online in and going through some stuff. It is my deepest regret that I did not get around to reading this book you so kindly offered to let me read.
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A familiar immigrant story from the Ashkenazi American experience, but one in which good hearted people make a good life for themselves. Not a new story but a comforting one.
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This was a beautiful well written story about the life of immigrants. I love the journey that the character face, especially since My great great grandparents where polish immigrants. I could totally understand what my grandparents must've went thru with reading this book and others like it. Mary gave the character such depth and beauty. I cant wait for more books by Mary. I will recommend this one to everyone
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Such an important topic! It really felt like I was reading something special while reading it. I love how it mizes fact with historical fiction but stays realistic.
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This book was such a beautifully written story.
Spanning several years, it follows Helen as she and her family start a new life in New York in the early 1900s.

I loved the way this story was told and all the rich detail put in, making it feel as though you were stepping off the boat at Ellis Island with Helen.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Sadly, I could not get on with this book. I'm not saying it is a bad book but it just did not work for me and reading is a very subjective matter.
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I have to say this book confused the heck out of me for so long, I almost put it down and didn’t pick it back up.
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I probably chose the wrong time to want to read this book with the current state of the world.  It was well-written and well-researched.  I ended up having to put it down about halfway and take breaks a few times.
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Thanks to NetGalley, She Writes Press, Mary Helen Fein for my copy of Stitching a Life.

Lithuania 1900, Hinde Breakstone is 16; she looks after her three little brothers and cooks the family’s dinner while her parents work at the compound dairy. Her oldest brother Max is about to turn 12, any day he could be pressed into the Russian Army and they have created a place for him to hide. The army conscripts young Jewish boys at 12, Hinde has to hide Max once, her family knows it’s only a matter of time before the Russian soldiers return and if Max is taken and they may never see him again. 
Hinde has no idea her parents already have a plan, her father has a cousin Rose who lives in America, the family are going to immigrate to America and cousin Rose will help. But it’s expensive; her father will leave first, save money and send for Hinde. Once Hinde is in America they will both work and save up to pay for Max’s fare and once they have enough money her mother and her three younger brothers will join them.
After her father leaves for America, Hinde nervously waits months for her father’s letter to arrive and finally it does. He’s paid for her ticket to leave Lithuania; she boards a ship on her own and sets sail across the other side of the world. She’s traveling in steerage and luckily she meets another girl Rebecca they become friends and they help each other during the journey.
Both girls are worried about the medical check at Ellis Island, anyone sick isn’t allowed to enter the country and they have nothing to worry about. Father and daughter are reunited, Hinde stays with Rose, changes her name to Helen and she starts work at a factory sewing boy’s knickerbockers. By working hard eventually the entire Breakstone family is reunited, it changes their lives for the better and future generations of their family prosper in America.
Stitching a Life is based on the true story of Helen Breakstone Fein and the author Mary Helen Fein is her granddaughter. I enjoyed reading the book; it’s an uplifting story about a family immigrating to America and especially how strong and brave Helen was at only 16. The book is classed as Young Adult Fiction, it’s suitable for all ages to read and I gave it four stars.
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I read about a quarter of this book, and had to give up. It is supposedly a semi-biographical novel of the authors family, and while she might have done research on her family, she absolutely did not do her research on the setting of the time.
It is supposed to take place around 1900, but the father (away in America) writes to them on "blue airmail-paper", you know, before airplanes even existed. Errors like these continue, and it completely took me out of the book and was very frustrating. It also felt like the author continuously told us, rather than showed us what was going on.
If you like history, skip it, if you don't care about history it might be OK.
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A well written heartfelt novel about Helen and her family, immigrating from Lithuania one at a time, as the funds are available. Helen and her father come to America first, working hard in the garment industry to bring the rest of the family over. A good view of early century New York, and an all around good read. Recommended.
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Super good book about hard work and sacrifice and how it was for the people trying to get to America. Very heart wrenching. I can’t even imagine how it would be to send my child off to another country to work not knowing when or if you would see them again. Loved this book.
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This story tells of the persecution of the Jews all over Europe and how one family in particular made their escape to a better life, the difficult choices they had to make and their success in the end. A feel-good book that I thoroughly enjoyed especially told through the eyes of someone who was there, the historical truth. Absolutely brilliant.
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Based on the true story of the author's grandmother and how her family immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's. 

 Hinde and her family are Jews in Lithuania, oppressed by the Russian government. Her father goes to America first, later sending for her, and together they work to bring the rest of their family over. 

I think that this book does a good job of showing one family's story, contrasting what they left with what they came to. I thought it interesting how often it was clarified for reader that Hinde's family were more culturally and reformed Jewish rather than Orthodox, and didn't believe the Bible as a literal text. I guess I didn't feel like I needed to be told this information so specifically more than once or twice. 

This was an intriguing story, even more so in that is based on a true one. I really enjoyed the author's notes at the end telling of what happened to the family and how she fits into everything.  This story in some ways seems to be written for more of a middle-grade audience, and while well researched it tends towards telling and over explaining feeling rather than showing with words. And as the story progressed I found myself skimming more often. 

I received a complimentary ebook. Opinions are my own.
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“All this was new, pieces of life stitching themselves together into new and ever-changing patterns”

If you are a historical fiction fan then this one is for you!  I think we sometimes forget that the persecution of Jewish people does not start and stop with WWII. This has been going on for centuries!  And this novel tells a story of the journey of a Jewish family circa 1900 looking to escape persecution from Lithuania! 

I have learnt so many things that I didn’t know about.  None of my family emigrated to America or to here (I’m Scottish and that’s just it! Boring!!) so I always find it very fascinating reading about the journey that was taken by people and their families!  

The author has written this as a tribute to her grandmother Helen (Hinde) and her family as they set up a new life for themselves in New York.  It is such a wonderful tribute and was a joy to read!  I think her grandmother would be pleased with the outcome of this book! 

I will say that the writing style is not the greatest.  But i think that is just the style of these books!  I also am not sure if it is because it is written about a family whom English is not their first language! 

Truly lovely story about how one family would do anything, travelling to the other end of the world to ensure the protection of their 12 year old son and brother.  And how Jewish communities and families stick together as one.  

I would recommend giving it a read!  I know you’ll enjoy it 😊
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I'm sorry but I won't be leaving a review at this time. I have no way of getting into my books at the moment because my kindle decided to be ornery and locked me out.
But from what I've read so far, it was a wonderful story! I thought it was fabulous that one could trace her roots from the 1800"s on up. I wish I could do that but I have no idea where my roots began since I'm adopted and all. 
In my opinion Helen  was a very brave woman to do what she did. It couldn't have been easy. 
Many thanks to Netgalley for a complimentary copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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I loved this amazing story, We follow the eldest kid of the family, Helen, through her journey to the new world. Her family is immigrating to save her brother from being drafted into the Russian Army at the young age of 12. Her father us the first to leave their home in hope to save money and buy a ticket for Helen. We follow Helen across the ocean, she meets new friends, but most of all works very hard to be able to buy a ticket for her brother's passage. This journey will take them a few years but they will succeed.

I loved the family dynamic in this story. The uncondition love they have for one another, the faith that drives them, and the new friends Helen meets on the way. This reminds me of why I started my family tree a few years ago and I enjoyed every bit of the family history Mary Helen Fein shows us.
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I kept wanting to like this book.  It's about an important time in our history, a time when immigrants came to the United States in droves and dealt with many economic and cultural hardships.  I tried.  I really did.  But I just felt like the author was busy telling, not showing.   Everything seemed to work out for the first 2/3 of the book; life was difficult but Helen persevered and everything worked out.  I didn't finish the book.  It felt a little too sugar-coated to appeal to me.
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