Modern Girls

By Jennifer S. Brown

IBSN: 9780451477125

Author’s website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una


In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.
As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same.


This is a story I won’t soon forget and I am praying that we get a sequel. I for one want to follow up on what happens to Dottie and her family. Set in New York in a Jewish neighborhood during the 1930’s the reader is drawn into the rich history of the prewar times and the struggles each family had during the depression years. I loved how the author developed the characters of Dottie and her mother Rose. Both have unplanned pregnancies to deal with and must make decisions completely out of their comfort zones. Rose has only wanted the best for Dottie and feels that her present career as an upcoming office manager will allow her to get out of the rut of marriage with multiple children. Rose at 42, is the mother of many and wants to restart her` life where she can devote time to the war efforts and try and get her brother out of war-torn Europe.  But like many life events all does not go as planned.   I loved the interactions between Rose and Dottie. There is humor, fear, and frustration as each finds out about the others secret. I felt the author allowed the reader to watch their stories unfold from their own perspective and voice. Rose’s compassion for Dottie and her protectiveness towards her is very moving.

I found myself enjoying the birds eye view of the Jewish Community in New York’s Lower East side and having the ability to immerse myself in the culture of the times. The reader also gets a glimpse of Dottie’s office in mid-Manhattan and later to uptown Park Avenue. As I traveled through these areas I for one fell in love with all the compelling characters that came alive on the tour.

This is a super debut novel from Jennifer S Brown and I know that my fingers are crossed that we get the sequel!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*