RACHEL'S LEGACY by Hila Colman


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Hila Colman leaves her usual contemporary settings for New York's Lower East Side in the 1900s in an involving immigrants' story. Rachel Ginsberg arrives from Russia with her mother and two sisters, an ambitious girl who turns her sewing skill and unflappability into a thriving business. She follows what to adults is a familiar route from factory carrier to clean-up girl to designer to partner, picking up polish and an education at the Henry Street Settlement and experiencing all those assimilation milestones--tasting roast pork, mingling with Gentiles, dabbling in Socialist polities, watching a sister change her name, then her allegiances. It's a personal story revealed with mild political and social overtones but Colman awkwardly frames it with the subsequent declining fortunes of Rachel's husband and daughter--Rachel dies young of TB--and the daughter's brief attempt to reclaim her inheritance. Otherwise, intricately but not quite slickly arranged and, despite the prevalence of Jewish cadences and Yiddishisms, fluently told.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1978
Publisher: Morrow