Street Corner Dreams

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024

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Description

A suspenseful family saga, love story, and gangster tale, wrapped into one great book club read . . .

Just before WWI, Golda comes to America yearning for independence, but she tosses aside her dreams of freedom and marries her widowed brother-in-law after her sister dies giving birth to their son, Morty.

In the crowded streets of Brooklyn where Jewish and Italian gangs demand protection money from local storekeepers and entice youngsters with the promise of wealth, Golda, Ben, and Morty thrive as a family. But in the Depression, Ben, faced with financial ruin, makes a dangerous, life-altering choice. Morty tries to save his father by getting help from a gangster friend but the situation only worsens. Forced to desert his family and the woman he loves in order to survive, Morty is desperate to go home. Will he ever find a safe way back? Or has his involvement with the gang sealed his fate?

Another stunning work of historical fiction by Florence Reiss Kraut, Street Corner Dreams is an exploration of a timeless question: how much do we owe the families that have sacrificed for and shaped us—and does that debt outweigh what we owe ourselves and our own hopes and dreams for a better life?
A suspenseful family saga, love story, and gangster tale, wrapped into one great book club read . . .

Just before WWI, Golda comes to America yearning for independence, but she tosses aside her dreams...

Advance Praise

“In Streetcorner Dreams, Florence Kraut weaves a dramatic story of family, romance, and suspense set in Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods in the 1930s, where immigrants are desperate to get ahead, and pressure from gangs is part of life. The characters’ dreams of a better life have their price, and irrevocable choices are made. The enduring power of family is at the heart of this compelling read, proving that sometimes the dreams you give up can lead to something better.”—Virginia Weir, author of Stay a Friend as Long as You Can: A Memoir and The Two Elizabeths

“Captured in beautifully written and tender descriptions of an immigrant family, the characters’ dreams coursed through me as I read Kraut’s story of grief, nostalgia, pity, and terror. Every word invited me to feel, care, love, and understand family, good and bad individuals, a struggling Brooklyn, and our country offering hope. This is writing at its most open, forgiving and tender—which is to say, this is a crucial, sense making, compassionate book that I couldn’t put down.”—June Gould, PhD, author of The Writer in All of Us, Beyond the Margins, and In the Shadow of Trains

“In Kraut’s beautifully written, captivating tale of an immigrant family in New York City between the world wars, the Feinsteins struggle to attain their dreams. Sometimes love and sacrifice aren’t enough, but hope glimmers through for this unforgettable family that you will root for to the very end.”—Rebecca D’Harlingue, author of The Lines Between Us and The Map Colorist

“Street Corner Dreams will grip you. Florence Kraut has researched the Jewish gangs of immigrant Brooklyn and spun their stories into gold. The book is a tear-jerker at times, but also so much more—Kraut’s ear for dialogue and her ability to portray the small, telling gesture make the book a pleasure to read. The book opens a chapter of history that most of us are unfamiliar with, and brings it to life.”—Mary Fillmore, Sarton Women’s Book Award–winning author of An Address in Amsterdam

“In Streetcorner Dreams, Florence Kraut weaves a dramatic story of family, romance, and suspense set in Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods in the 1930s, where immigrants are desperate to get ahead, and...


Marketing Plan

  • Netgalley
  • Book Club Outreach 
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  • Jewish Media Outreach 
  • National Media Outreach 


  • Netgalley
  • Book Club Outreach 
  • A Little Free Library Tour 
  • #Bookstagram 
  • #BookTok 
  • Regional Media Outreach (Westchester County, NY and Berkshires, MA)
  • Jewish Media Outreach 
  • National Media Outreach 



Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781647425913
PRICE $17.95 (USD)
PAGES 256

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Featured Reviews

Golda and her sister Esther come to America for a better life and to reunite Esther with her husband Ben who arrived earlier. Esther dies during childbirth but the baby Morty survives without a mother, so Gloria marries Ben so they are a family.
Times are very tough during the early part of the 20th century in Brooklyn New York, but they survive and try to make a better life for themselves. After they get married another son is born but dies during his illness that took so many other life's.
The story continues as Morty grows up and sets his sight on going to college and becoming an engineer. Times get really tough with the great depression and Ben is behind on rent and is desperate for money and Morty arranges for a loan to bail him out from a friend who is connected to the mafia. Things spiral out of control and Morty gets involved with the underworld and desperately tries to get away from this horrendous nightmare and has a steep price to pay.
This historical novel is so well written and one of the best books I have thoroughly enjoyed in years. Don't miss reading this gem.
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*4.5 stars *

It’s the early 20th century and emigrants from various parts of the world are setting sail with dreams of a new life in America. For some though, the dream has ended before they even reach their destination. This then is the backdrop for Street Corner Dreams.

Golda comes to America just before WWI, but before her dreams can even begin to take shape, she has to marry her widowed brother-in-law Ben, after her sister Esther dies aboard the ship giving birth to her and Ben’s son, Morty.

Living in Brooklyn they’re aware of the various gangs, the ones who demand protection money and carry out many illegal activities, but as long as they keep their heads down, the gangs won’t bother them, will they?

Ben, Golda and Morty live a simple life, and although they’re not well off, they managed to live within their means. However, as the Great Depression hits, things become increasingly desperate for Ben and he makes a decision that will alter his family’s life forever!

Gosh, this was an engaging and heartfelt portrayal of a Jewish family trying to make the best of a life thousands of miles from their home in Poland, trying to fit in and make sense of other cultures and religions. It follows the family right up until Morty is well into his twenties. The characters were realistic in their portrayal of this era and the difficulties they faced. It is a story of family duty, responsibility, love and secrets. Excellent. Highly recommended.

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