In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants.
Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld.
Thanks to Anne Cater at Random things Tours and Flame Tree Press for my ARC of the debut novel by Kenneth Bromberg, American Dreams.
Beginning in 1904 when 4 year old max witnesses the brutal rape and murder of his mother in Czarist Russia, This a tale that spans generations as Kenneth Bromberg weaves a masterful tale of early 20th century America.
After the tragedy takes places, Max and his Father, leave Russia, smuggling themselves out and through Eastern Europe, eventually arriving in New York with nothing but the clothes on their back.
Max is soon left for hours at a time with a neighbour who looks after a beautiful young girl, Sophie.
A quite intriguing, at times endearing, but also brutal, and violent tale is told, detailing Max’s rise to underworld kingpin, and Sophie’s attempts to fulfill her dreams.
There is also the story of Jonathon , the 3rd main character, also an immigrant from Ireland, coming to America after the execution of his IRA supporting Father.
Kenneth Bromberg brilliantly weaves the stories of the 3 together.
Max is a stunningly strong character, he shows no weakness in his journey to be at the top of the criminal chain.
This book is written with a verve and a confidence from a new author, who has done his research and brought a cracking piece of writing to life, a tale through the ages.
Sex, The Mafia, speakeasies , brothels, casinos , prohibition , the FBI and the bright lights of the movies and the Hollywood film industry all play their part in an excellent story.
Descriptions of 1920s America and onward are detailed and fantastic.
I loved the Tv series Boardwalk Empire, and this reminded me of that in places so I got lost and completing entranced by this and I can only highly recommended!
Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California with a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, after which he worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to
pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant.
After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century. If you like Mario Puzo's The Godfather and Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel.
He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife of forty years.