Saint Mazie

Grand Central. Jun. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781455599899. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455599882. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455579501. F
For her latest, Attenberg (The Middlesteins) draws on a real-life figure famed in lower Manhattan during the Great Depression. Mazie Phillips wasn't really a saint, but she did a great deal of good for the city's poor and homeless. Brought to New York by older sister Rose, she lived with Rose and Rose's husband, Louis, who was as kind as his business dealings were shady. When Mazie was old enough to need a job to keep her from running the streets, she took over the box office and business side of the Venice Theater, one of Louis's holdings. As the reader learns through her diary, high-spirited, independent Mazie protested that her family was locking her in a cage, but before long that cage was a comfort and her window on her neighborhood. She saw people suffering and with a nun named Tee opened the theater up as a shelter and used her family's funds to help those in need. Like many of literature's most fascinating characters, Mazie is imperfect and impulsive, but she has a heart of gold.
VERDICT A very enjoyable novel with great character, this work will be of particular interest to fans of women's fiction, fiction set in New York City, and historical fiction set during World War I, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. [See Prepub Alert, 12/8/14.]

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