Local author Alice Rosenthal shares her lyrical debut novel, Bess and Frima.
When Bess and Frima--best friends, both nineteen and from the same Jewish background in the Bronx--get summer jobs in upstate hotels near Monticello, NY, in June 1940, they have visions of romance . . . but very different expectations and needs. Frima, who seeks safety in love, finds it with the "boy next door," who is also Bess's brother. Meanwhile, rebellious Bess renames herself Beth and plunges into a new life with Vinny, an Italian American, former Catholic, left-wing labor leader from San Francisco. Her actions are totally unacceptable to her family--which is fine with Beth. Will their young loves have happy endings? Yes and no, for the shadow of world war is growing, and Beth and Frima must grow up fast. As their love lives entangle with war, ambitions, religion, family, and politics--all kinds of conventional expectations--they face challenges they never dreamed of in their struggles for personal and creative growth.