B O O K R E V I E W : The Tenderest of Strings

Thank you so much to Regal House Publishing and Over the River PR for including me on the book tour for The Tenderest of Strings by Steven Schwartz.

The Rosenfeld family has moved from Chicago to Welton, Colorado, where Reuben purchased the local paper. Although relocating was supposed to give them a new start, their elder son, Harry, a loner, comes home with injuries he won’t explain, younger son Jamie still suffers from the asthma that the dry Colorado air was to have alleviated, and Ardith, a stay-at-home mother, has become embroiled in an affair with the town’s doctor. Reuben, unaware of the affair, wonders at Ardith’s distance. Meanwhile, the fixer-upper they purchased remains in disrepair, so decrepit that it is mistaken for a haunted house attraction on Halloween.

Despite the malaise afflicting the Rosenfelds, inertia maintains their fragile bonds until they learn of a fatal hit and run accident the night of a raucous barbecue they attended. The death acts as a key unlocking secrets with repercussions for the entire family and the larger community.

I really enjoyed The Tenderest of Strings, at heart a family drama exploring the strength of love and possibly of forgiveness in the wake of trauma. The characters were extremely flawed but at the same time very likable, and I thought Schwartz did an excellent job developing distinct tones for the primary point of view characters. The young, rebellious teen Harry’s journey was particularly emotional to me.

Some comic relief comes from the paper, where reviews of local fast food restaurants are popular and the sole reporter has a column about the highly-exaggerated exploits of her toddler daughter.

If you like family dramas, books about small towns, or are looking for Jewish representation, add The Tenderest of Strings to your TBR. I also think fans of Richard Russo would enjoy the novel.

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