by Pete Hamill
During the Great Depression, when many of James Delaney's patients cannot pay for services, the New York City doctor find his life out of order when an act of compassion to help an old war buddy lands him in the sights of a mob boss. The unfortunate events eventually strengthen the bond between Delany and his grandson along with the woman whom he hired to help care for the child. Amidst the chaos and turmoil, Delaney finds himself turning his world upside down and rediscovering the joyful bonds that lead men through adversity.
North River's subtle love story is endearing but it does not always compel the reader to keep turning the pages. Although his work is a charming story with a well drawn setting, its storyline and characters are sometimes predictable. The plot seems slow to develop and at certain times anticlimactic.
However, what is notable about this novel is its excellent historical rendering and period detail. Hamill delivers a rare and remarkable depiction of New York City during the 1930s. One can truly envision the city, its stores, the atmosphere and its inhabitants during those dreadful years and can feel the desperation of the patients and the doctor's compassion. For one who is interested in the history of New York during the Great Depression, North River can deliver a perspective on the lives of those trying to make a difference in a world of hopelessness.
Review By Erin Gurry
Rating: 3 out of 5