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Synopsis

“Dreams played an important part in our lives in those early days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future.”

During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein’s selfless mother struggles to keep her six children fed and clothed. But she never stops dreaming of a better life in America, no matter how unlikely. Then, one miraculous day when Harry is twelve years old, steamships tickets arrive in the mail, sent by an anonymous benefactor.

Suddenly, a new life full of the promise of prosperity seems possible–and the family sets sail for America, meeting relatives in Chicago. Harry is mesmerized by the city: the cars, the skyscrapers, and the gorgeous vistas of Lake Michigan. For a time, the family gets a taste of the good life: electric lights, a bathtub, a telephone. But soon the harsh realities of the Great Depression envelop them. Skeletons in the family closet come to light, mafiosi darken their doorstep, family members are lost, and dreams are shattered.

In the face of so much loss, Harry and his mother must make a fateful decision–one that will change their lives forever. And though he has struggled for so long, there is an incredible bounty waiting for Harry in New York: his future wife, Ruby. It is their romance that will finally bring the peace and happiness that Harry’s mother always dreamed was possible.

With a compelling cast and evocative settings, Harry Bernstein’s extraordinary account of his hardscrabble youth in Depression-era Chicago and New York will grip you from the very first page. Full of humor, drama, and romance, this tale of hope and dreams coming true enthralls and enchants.


From the Hardcover edition.

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