The Whisper Sister

A Novel

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Pub Date Sep 03 2024 | Archive Date Sep 17 2024

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Description

The author of Modern Girls delivers an atmospheric coming-of-age story set in Prohibition-era New York, tracing one immigrant family’s fortunes and a young girl’s journey from the schoolyard to the speakeasy.

The streets of New York in 1920 are most certainly not paved with gold, as Minnie Soffer learns when she arrives at Ellis Island. Her father, who left Ukraine when Minnie was a toddler, feels like a stranger. She sleeps on a mattress on the kitchen floor. She understands nothing at school. They came to America for this?

As her family adjusts to this new life, Minnie and her brother work hard to learn English and make friends. When her father, Ike, opens his own soda shop, stability and citizenship seem within reach. But the soda shop is not what it seems; it’s a front for Ike’s real moneymaker: a speakeasy.

When tragedy strikes the Soffers, Minnie has no choice but to take over the bar. She’s determined to make the speakeasy a success despite the risks it brings to herself, her family, and her freedom. At what price does the American dream come true? Minnie won’t stop until she finds out.

The author of Modern Girls delivers an atmospheric coming-of-age story set in Prohibition-era New York, tracing one immigrant family’s fortunes and a young girl’s journey from the schoolyard to the...


A Note From the Publisher

Jennifer S. Brown is the author of Modern Girls, which was a Goodreads Choice Award semifinalist for Historical Fiction, a Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read,” and a USA Today bestseller. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Fiction Southeast, Southeast Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Cognoscenti, and Bellevue Literary Review, among other places.

Jennifer has a BFA in film and television from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. She loves writing historical fiction because the research lets her live vicariously in another time and place. Jennifer has two (mostly grown) children, two beagles, and a husband who won’t let her get more dogs. You can find Jennifer on Instagram (@brownjennys) or at www.jennifersbrown.com.

Jennifer S. Brown is the author of Modern Girls, which was a Goodreads Choice Award semifinalist for Historical Fiction, a Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read,” and a USA Today bestseller. Her...


Advance Praise

The Whisper Sister by Jennifer S. Brown is the story of Minnie, a young Jewish immigrant in New York during the Prohibition era who must fight for her family and business by rewriting the rules in a game where men hold all of the cards. Readers will laugh, cry, and root for feisty Minnie, a heroine for all time! Brown’s latest dazzles!” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Sapphire

“A powerful story about the losses we endure when carving out a new life in America and the transformative force of unwavering resolve. As Minnie navigates her path of survival amidst tragedy in New York’s Prohibition era, she finds home and belonging not in a place but in her connection to those she loves. A testament to the power of one woman’s strength and the legacy and sanctuary she ends up building in her community.” —Marjan Kamali, author of The Stationery Shop and The Lion Women of Tehran

“Don’t let the title fool you: Jennifer S. Brown’s latest is anything but quiet. From New York City’s crowded tenements to its supper clubs and secret speakeasies, The Whisper Sister takes readers on a heart-stopping journey of lies, passion, and shocking betrayal. When young Minnie Soffer arrives at Ellis Island a full seven years after her father, her family is greeted by a clean-shaven stranger who works for the city’s most notorious gangsters. Smarter than all the men in her family combined, it is only a matter of time before Minnie claims her rightful place as her father’s successor. Packed with tragic twists and stunning surprises, this Prohibition-era saga will have readers drunk on Jennifer S. Brown’s talent.” —Lynda Cohen Loigman, bestselling author of The Two-Family House, The Wartime Sisters, and The Matchmaker’s Gift

The Whisper Sister is a transportive, page-turning feminist story about a woman who finds courage and strength behind the bar of her Lower East Side speakeasy in the dangerous and turbulent world of Prohibition-era New York City. In a journey both thrilling and heartbreaking, dutiful immigrant daughter Minnie Soffer emerges as an independent woman ready to sacrifice whatever she must in order to take care of herself and her family. Beautifully written, historically rich, and skillfully rendered, Brown’s story kept me rapt from the first page all the way to the deeply satisfying ending. Raise a glass to Jennifer S. Brown for sharing the world of the whisper sister with us. I will think of this novel every time I sip a cocktail from now on.” —Louise Miller, author of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and The Late Bloomers’ Club

“Literature often portrays the 1920s as an era of Gatsby-like opulence. Jennifer S. Brown’s The Whisper Sister masterfully shows other side: the newly arrived immigrant experience of America in the 1920s. Minnie’s rise from Yiddish-speaking Ukrainian to American girl who eventually takes over and transforms her father’s speakeasy while taking on the leaders of an organized crime syndicate will enchant readers. Read this one with tissues because Brown’s characters are so real that you will feel their pain and victories as your own, and they will stay with you long after you finish reading this absolute gem of a novel.” —Sara Goodman Confino, bestselling author of Don’t Forget to Write and She’s Up to No Good

“Early on in this effervescent, compulsively readable novel, Minnie Soffer’s mother tells her, ‘In America, you do what you do to get by.’ The Soffers are Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, and as The Whisper Sister unfolds on the meticulously rendered Lower East Side of New York during Prohibition, Minnie learns the hard wisdom of her mother’s observation. After a series of family tragedies, Minnie takes over her father’s speakeasy and finds herself in business with the gangsters Arnold Rothstein and Meyer Lansky and discovers that women are not exempted from the violence of the era. She promises herself to prevail, whatever the cost, and at the end she discovers that her mother had taught her the most important lesson of all. ‘Home is where your people are,’ and Minnie’s people were in America. It is a story familiar to millions of immigrants, and a story that stays with you long after you have turned the last page.” —Peter Golden, author of Nothing Is Forgotten

“I loved every word of this captivating page-turner! The Whisper Sister kept me awake well past bedtime, melding and bringing alive Prohibition, gangster kings, and speakeasies with the riveting story of Minnie Soffer, a young immigrant facing peril in New York who lands behind the bar of the speakeasy, trying to save her family. Minnie grabbed my heart and never let go.” —Randy Susan Meyers, international bestseller, author of Waisted

The Whisper Sister goes down like a perfectly balanced Prohibition-era cocktail: bitter and sweet and a little bit dangerous. Minnie Sofer is one of the grittiest and gutsiest historical fiction heroines in recent memory, tackling the American dream with remarkable strength and persistence even as circumstances tear her family apart. A uniquely compelling take on the human cost of Prohibition's failed ‘noble experiment.’” —Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Arctic Fury and The Thirteenth Husband

“Like a well-mixed cocktail, Jennifer S. Brown’s The Whisper Sisteroffers up a delicious blend of Prohibition-era history and intimate family drama. The novel’s heroine, Minnie Soffer, is forced by personal tragedy to take over her father’s speakeasy—and determined to make it a success at any cost, even if it means giving up her own dreams of a secure life in America. Fun, fascinating, well-researched, and action-packed, this is a must-read for all historical fiction fans.” —Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light

“Jennifer S. Brown's The Whisper Sister delivers an explosive blend of emotion and history, capturing the heart of an era and the soul of its heroine with sheer brilliance. This is more than a story about Prohibition or the immigrant experience; it's a celebration of resilience and a testament to the strength of the human heart.” —Crystal King, author of In the Garden of Monsters and Feast of Sorrow

The Whisper Sister immerses you in the world of Prohibition-era New York City, in both its beauty and its ugliness, its excitement and its danger. Jennifer S. Brown’s deft prose brings the past alive like few writers can. I mourned Minnie’s heartbreaks and toasted her successes as if they were their own. Historical fiction fans will find this an utterly captivating read.” —Sarah James, bestselling author of Last Night at the Hollywood Canteen


The Whisper Sister by Jennifer S. Brown is the story of Minnie, a young Jewish immigrant in New York during the Prohibition era who must fight for her family and business by rewriting the rules in a...


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ISBN 9781662521232
PRICE $16.99 (USD)
PAGES 429

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