Who pays retail?
Not Adam Arnring, illegitimate son of a Jewish storekeeper and a forlorn Irish girl, who grows up to run a department store and get rich. Not that the small-minded residents of his New Jersey town ever thought he would amount to much—though his loving Pa was absolutely certain his firstborn son would be a big man some day. It’s the dawn of a new century, and America is the land of opportunity. With tears in his eyes, Pa tells Adam the story of his out-of-wedlock birth and his mother’s tragic early death from diphtheria. But life goes on. Adam’s kindly stepmother provides two brothers: Leo the nasty one, and Jonathan the nice one. In 1907, Adam goes forth into the great world (okay, Chattahoochee, Texas). He quickly finds work at a small department store owned by the Rothirsch family and pines for the unattainable Emma Rothirsch, a cool, green-eyed beauty with an independent spirit and musical talent. Where did it come from? Emma reveals her deep, dark secret: She’s adopted and undoubtedly illegitimate. She and Adam marry. She gets busy making babies while Adam makes money. Jonathan is killed in the trenches in WWI. Adam grieves but life goes on. He and Emma have wonderful, talented children and life is practically perfect—until Adam’s brief dalliance with dress designer Blanche comes to the attention of his nasty brother Leo, the runt of the litter at only five foot two, always jealous of Adam’s success. Leo blackmails Adam, who pays so that life can go on. He dabbles in philanthropy and good works while the wonderful children grow up and are successes in their own right, producing wonderful, talented children of their own. More years go by. Many, many things happen. Sunrise, sunset . . . .
Another comfy read from megaselling Auntie Belva (Her Father’s House, 2002, etc., etc.).