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North River

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Recreating 1930s New York with the vibrancy and rich detail that are his trademarks, Pete Hamill weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that no reader will soon forget.

It is 1934, and New York City is in the icy grip of the Great Depression. With enormous compassion, Dr. James Delaney tends to his hurt, sick, and poor neighbors, who include gangsters, day laborers, prostitutes, and housewives. If they can't pay, he treats them anyway. But in his own life, Delaney is emotionally numb, haunted by the slaughters of the Great War. His only daughter has left for Mexico, and his wife Molly vanished months before, leaving him to wonder if she is alive or dead.

Then, on a snowy New Year's Day, the doctor returns home to find his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep, left by his mother in Delaney's care. Coping with this unexpected arrival, Delaney hires Rose, a tough, decent Sicilian woman with a secret in her past. Slowly, as Rose and the boy begin to care for the good doctor, the numbness in Delaney begins to melt. Recreating 1930s New York with the vibrancy and rich detail that are his trademarks, Pete Hamill weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that no reader will soon forget.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2007

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About the author

Pete Hamill

117 books493 followers
Pete Hamill was a novelist, essayist and journalist whose career has endured for more than forty years. He was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1935, the oldest of seven children of immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Catholic schools as a child. He left school at 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheetmetal worker, and then went on to the United States Navy. While serving in the Navy, he completed his high school education. Then, using the educational benefits of the G.I. Bill of Rights, he attended Mexico City College in 1956-1957, studying painting and writing, and later went to Pratt Institute. For several years, he worked as a graphic designer. Then in 1960, he went to work as a reporter for the New York Post. A long career in journalism followed. He has been a columnist for the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and New York Newsday, the Village Voice, New York magazine and Esquire. He has served as editor-in-chief of both the Post and the Daily News. As a journalist, he covered wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Lebanon and Northern Ireland, and has lived for extended periods in Mexico City, Dublin, Barcelona, San Juan and Rome. From his base in New York he also covered murders, fires, World Series, championship fights and the great domestic disturbances of the 1960s, and wrote extensively on art, jazz, immigration and politics. He witnessed the events of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath and wrote about them for the Daily News.

At the same time, Hamill wrote much fiction, including movie and TV scripts. He published nine novels and two collections of short stories. His 1997 novel, Snow in August, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four months. His memoir, A Drinking Life, was on the same New York Times list for 13 weeks. He has published two collections of his journalism (Irrational Ravings and Piecework), an extended essay on journalism called News Is a Verb, a book about the relationship of tools to art, a biographical essay called Why Sinatra Matters, dealing with the music of the late singer and the social forces that made his work unique. In 1999, Harry N. Abrams published his acclaimed book on the Mexican painter Diego Rivera. His novel, Forever, was published by Little, Brown in January 2003 and became a New York Times bestseller. His most recently published novel was North River (2007).

In 2004, he published Downtown: My Manhattan, a non-fiction account of his love affair with New York, and received much critical acclaim. Hamill was the father of two daughters, and has a grandson. He was married to the Japanese journalist, Fukiko Aoki, and they divided their time between New York City and Cuernavaca, Mexico. He was a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

Author photo by David Shankbone (September 2007) - permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 713 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth (Alaska).
1,287 reviews423 followers
June 21, 2009
I knew before I finished that I would score this one 5 stars. It's a love story, but so much more than a love story. Dr. Jim Delaney and Ruth Verga are people you would be proud to know. Not because they are such perfect people (they're not) but because deep down they are good, honest, and courageous people. There is a short interview with the author in the edition I read, and he says he made the Greenwich Village neighborhood one of the characters of the story. Aha, I thought, that's at least part of what makes this novel a cut above. This was my first Pete Hamill novel, but I hope it won't be the last.
Profile Image for Neil.
Author 2 books46 followers
June 10, 2014
With rich characters and a treatment of setting that drops you into time and place perfectly, it's hard to see what some readers aren't liking about this book. I guess they were hoping for something more plot-driven with big twists or some kind of wild climax. I suspect they are hoping for something either more darkly noir or, conversely, a much lighter conventional romance. Instead, they get something that stays in the real space between: a story with people who are exceptional but still believable, a plot that consistently maintains light suspense and has a good story arc that eschews pat solutions to life's more intractable problems.

The central character is Delaney, an aging doctor who lost the wife he loved under mysterious circumstances, carries the physical and emotional scars of WWI, and has an adult daughter who has gone a bit astray. He's a real keystone in his neighborhood, the doctor who makes house calls and does his best to clean up other people's messes. As the novel opens, his daughter leaves her son on Delaney's doorstep to go in search of his father in pre-revolution Spain. Rose Verga, a woman in her late 30s, moves in with Delaney to help him take care of the tot, Carlito, and the three of them begin to form familial bonds, but with all of their unresolved issues, plus those of class and culture, plus some awkward involvement with local criminals, blocking their connection. Along the way, you get great conflicts and details of Delaney's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, the waning days of Tammany Hall politics, and the uncomfortable connection between gangsters and the people who live among them. It's a rich story that doesn't take any missteps. Apparently I have to catch up on Pete Hamill, because I really loved this book.
Profile Image for Megan.
27 reviews11 followers
December 29, 2008
This book was strange for me. It was interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading it, but when I finished I realized it wasn't really that good. I think the problem for me was that the book seemed like it was leading up to something really big. I kept waiting and waiting for it, but it turned out to be extremely anti-climatic.
Profile Image for Joseph Sciuto.
Author 8 books126 followers
June 30, 2021
Pete Hamill’s novel, “North River,” Is not what I would consider “HIGH LITERATURE.” It is not the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Conrad, Joyce, Toni Morrison, or the poets Byron and Yeats who Mr. Hamill mentions throughout the book. (Byron is my favorite poet of all times, and Yeats is my favorite poet of the 20th. century)

Mr. Hamill’s novel is nevertheless the most enjoyable novel I have read this year. “The Code Breaker” was the most important book I have read this year, followed by at least four David Halberstam’s books. Mr. Hamill, in my opinion, knows more about the entire city of New York than any other writer I have read, Including James Baldwin, Capote, and Dos Passos.

At the very heart of “North River,” is a love story between an Irish American doctor, and a veteran of World War 1, and an Sicilian immigrant. It is also a love story about a grandpa and his grandson, a love story about a doctor and his love for the neighborhood he lives and practices in and the ethnic diversity of the city.

The ‘North River,’ is actually a part of the Hudson River and across from this part of the river is where General George Washington and his army had to cross to escape to New Jersey before the British wiped them out. I have no doubt, that President Washington would have loved this book because it is about the unselfish nature of Americans from all over the world, and the love for humanity and equal rights that he and his army fought so gallantly for to give to all Americans. His dream is still not fully realized but hopefully we are getting there. I highly, highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Carol.
48 reviews
November 10, 2008
Reviews can bounce between extremes depending upon the reviewers. It helps to find someone who shares similar taste and that you know that if they like a book, you will most likely enjoy it as well. Oddly enough, this person for me is Tom Hanks. Yes, the actor Tom Hanks. I subscribe to his myspace blog because usually in the Fall he posts the books that he read over the summer and includes commentary. His taste is eclectic, and has caused me to read books I might not have picked up otherwise. Tom Hanks read "North River" in what he calls the luckiest he has been this year, reading it in a mountain cabin, in the rain, all alone except for his dog. He also said that after finishing it, he ordered all of Pete Hamill's books. That was good enough for me. And once again, I agree with him. This was my first Pete Hamill book. Reviewers are saying that "Forever" is much better, so I am really looking forward to reading it since I loved this book so much. Many reviewers have given a synopsis of the story, so I will refrain. I will say, however, that when it comes to creating a setting and ambience, I can't imagine a better writer. He totally created a post-WWII New York for me.. assailing the senses with imagery of snowstorms, the Hudson (North) River, familiar songs of the era, etc. This was my parents' generation, and remembrances of our lives together in the 50's hint at the truth of his descriptions. Some of it was not pleasant to remember, such as the way women were viewed as chattel and my Irish-American mother's acceptance of wife beating as normal and pedestrian. It was still prevalent when I was a little girl. You can sometimes hear Lucy saying "Now, don't hit me, Ricky" on "I Love Lucy"...it was accepted. Also, though, there was a sense of community. People knew their neighbors and looked in on them. Even simple details, such as Hamill describing orange peels floating on the river rings true. People ate fruit in the way of a treat during the Depression and I could see he put so much thought into the authenticity of his descriptions. This book had romance but wasn't drippy...a hint of happily ever after without the easy wrap up. Tom Hanks felt the characters would shine in any decade and I agree. They are fleshed out and admirable, people you would want to know, even some of the mobsters. I really look forward to reading more Pete Hamill. First, though... I'm reading two of the other choices from Tom's summer reading, "Quentins" by Maeve Binchy and "Marjorie Morningstar" by Herman Wouk. I'm a little surprised that more people didn't give "North River" high marks...which leads me back to the importance of finding a reviewer you trust that has similar taste. Odd though it may be, my reading compass is Tom Hanks! I hope he continues to share his reading lists for a long time!
Profile Image for Sue.
613 reviews24 followers
May 20, 2016
I was surprised that this book did not have a higher Goodreads rating and more readers, as I found it quite lovely. Perhaps I was predisposed to like it since the main character, Dr. James Delaney, reminded me quite strongly of my grandfather, also a World War I veteran and doctor practicing during the Great Depression. Though my own grandfather lived and worked in small town Indiana rather than urban New York, his quiet competence, his strong ties to the community in which he lived and worked, and his compassion for those who could not pay were all mirrored in Dr. James Delaney. Additionally, we meet Dr. Delaney when he is living alone, quietly enduring the mysterious disappearance of his wife with a stoic courage that also reminded me of my grandfather, who was widowed quite young. (The reader -- and Dr. Delaney -- do eventually find out what happened to his wife.)

I recommend this book to you, Goodreads friends, even if it doesn't remind you of your own grandfather. (-: It is a solidly satisfying story set in descriptively drawn old New York. (Residents of the doctor's neighborhood once called the Hudson the North River, hence, the book's title.) The book will be living on my "keeper" shelf for some time to come, so those of you I know personally may borrow it -- as long as you promise to give it back!
Profile Image for Chad Sayban.
253 reviews60 followers
July 8, 2016
More reviews at The Story Within The Story

New York City of the mid-1930s is in the grips of the Great Depression and Dr. James Delaney is alone with his work. While he tends to the sick and injured all around his neighborhood, his daughter has left for Mexico and his unforgiving wife has vanished. But when Delaney returns home one snowy night, he finds his three-year-old grandson in front of his house with a note from his daughter. Overwhelmed, Delaney hires a tough Sicilian woman named Rose to take care of the boy. Can he make things work as he is caught in the middle of a mob war, abject poverty around him and Rose’s own secrets? And will his daughter one day return and take the only people holding his life together – Rose and his grandson – away from him?

“In the gray morning, wrapped in his bathrobe, he pushed aside the life within the house and glanced through the newspapers: 400,000 on relief in New York, Hitler ranting in Germany, fighting in China, a volcano erupting in Mexico. There was a photograph of the erupting mountain with a peasant in the foreground, dressed in white pajamas and sandals and holding a machete. You missed this, Grace. You missed the volcano. What paintings it might have inspired. I always thought that you had married Mexico even more than Santos. You were not a communist. You were an artist. Or so I thought. And never said.”

North River is very much a period piece, placed deep inside the parochial neighborhood setting of the urban New York City between the wars. The flappers of the 1920’s are long gone and the reality of the Great Depression is stark and depressing. However, while Hamill makes sure to describe the poverty and anger of the time, he doesn’t overdo it. He mixes in some beauty and happiness that immerses us in a very real NYC that none of us were alive to experience. It echoes some of the trials we are going through in our present day challenges, but it also makes you appreciate just how much worse things were then.

Hamill does a wonderful job of fleshing out Dr. Delaney as well as all of the other characters in North River. Each one of them is meticulously created and artfully brought to life. Hamill is obviously a master of bringing characters into a reality. However, the story itself takes a very long time to develop. We are nearly halfway into the book before any real tension begins to form. In addition, the threats to Delaney never feel all that threatening, and the resolution at the end was pretty underwhelming. But the story really isn’t as much about the events as it is about the characters. North River is not written as much as it is woven into a comfortable read.

Ultimately, North River is a good story, with some interesting characters set in a thoroughly detailed reconstruction of 1930’s New York City. If you are looking for a character driven period piece, North River may provide you an enjoyable trip into the lives of that place and era. At the very least, Hamill's writing is itself a joy.
Profile Image for Maria.
132 reviews36 followers
July 7, 2009
I've never read anything by this man before. My father was born in Hell's Kitchen, I myself grew up on the NY streets, and I was curious to see how Hamill portrays this very interesting depression era. From what I can glean, it's historically accurate, and while I don't particularly care for this guy's style I have to admit I got a thrill reading about "my territory." In fact, I wanted more -- like, WHERE on 18th Street? It's a good, fast-paced novel, and Hamill makes his reader care about his characters. I may now become hooked on Hamill. My father would have loved it.
Profile Image for Kymm.
733 reviews52 followers
February 16, 2023
I love historical fiction, but don't read a lot of it written by male authors, not because I have anything against male authors, but I just haven't found many that are able to write historical fiction with the emotions, feelings and detail I've come to expect in the genre. However, when I heard Pete Hamill talking about his newest book, "North River" being interviewed on a book club podcast I listen to I quickly downloaded the book. He sounded like he got it and from the excerpts of the book he shared my curiosity was peaked. Now that I've finished it, I can say it's probably one of the best books I've read, and Pete Hamill is a masterful storyteller. It's been a long time since I've read a book where the author goes into such detail with a character and brings him to life with words on a page.

Doctor James Delaney is a caring, devoted doctor working in New York City during the height of the Great Depression. The 1930's in New York is wrought with mob activity, corruption, poverty, sickness and death. When arriving home after making house calls one day, he discovers a small child on his doorstep. There's a note and he's shocked to learn this is his grandson, Carlito, his daughter Grace's son. He and Grace have a tenuous relationship at best. Dr. Delaney's wife and Grace's mother Molly disappeared without a trace years ago and since then he and Grace have been estranged. He has no idea where Grace is, and he's never met Carlito before. Of course, he takes the child in and is soon trying to balance parenthood with his professional life, which has taken a serious turn since he was contacted on New Year's Day to help a rival local mob boss who was shot. Dr. Delaney hires Rose to help with Carlito and she's everything anyone could ask in a mother figure for the boy.

Hamill brings us a multi-dimensional character in Dr. Delaney. I was glued to the pages and couldn't wait to see what would happen next. He becomes the guy you root for, the underdog that everyone wants to win. Yes, he has some secrets and has done some things that weren't ideal, but he's caring, compassionate and giving. His personal relationships are challenging, and he questions himself daily. Is he doing the right thing for his grandson? Is he doing his best for his patients? He is a man with a conscience even when he's patching up those without one. When he's confronted with the dangers of the mob Dr. Delaney gets tough and a whole new side to the character comes out.

It's been a long time since I've been treated to such a multi-dimensional character with such clarity. Hamill is a master at character development and took me on a journey through this man's life unlike any I can remember in recent times. I was so impressed with his style that I'm definitely going to be reading more from this author! As for male authors? I'm sold! Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Miranda Stockton.
50 reviews13 followers
October 5, 2009
After reading this book I closed it and made a fart noise. Boring. I gave it two stars because it at least had enough plot to get me through to the end. And it drove me crazy how the main characters kept referring to the grandson as "the boy" and "boy". Who does that in real life?
Profile Image for Rose.
14 reviews
July 9, 2008
This book is a must read for any one who lived and loved in Brooklyn after the war.
Pete Hamill has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you are a part of the story.
Fantastic read.
Profile Image for George.
802 reviews84 followers
April 30, 2009
Pete Hamill's book, 'North River' is peopled by a cast of Runyonesque-type characters who should be both colorful and interesting, but, somehow, come across in this story a little flat. Perhaps that was a reflection of the times: the 1930's, at the height of the Depression.

I love New York City, and reading about its history. The only thing I seemed to learn about New York from this novel, however, is that Washington Square was once a potter's field. I didn't know that.

I seem to remember enjoying both the story and the ('larger-than-life') characters more in Pete Hamill's fable about New York: 'Forever'. Now I'll need to read his, 'Snow in August' to better decide if I am really a fan or not.

Recommendation: 'North River' as a moderately good read, but 'Forever' is much better.
Profile Image for Janet.
51 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2015

It was OK. But what I was looking for was typical Hamill: gritty and sharp. And the first couple of chapters led me to believe I was going to get just that.

But then the story devolved... almost to the point of being a Chick Book with nice, safe, predictable characters and an ending to match.

One thing even more off putting than the story's predictability was Hamill's obvious respect for the Tammany Hall machine that still had power in the early '30s.

I don't think I've ever heard Tammany Hall referred to without the adjective "corrupt", yet Hamill presents these characters with respect. Also, while his protagonist debates over accepting much needed money from a mobster whose life he's helped save, he doesn't bat an eye when offered largess, time and again, as a result of his and his father's connections with Tammany Hall bosses.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
968 reviews101 followers
June 18, 2010
Set in the early 1930's in New York, Dr. Jim Delany has returned to his medical practice after serving in and being wounded in World War I. But he feels empty and lonely. His wife has deserted him, and his daughter has eloped with her Mexican husband. His life suddenly changes when he finds his 3 year old grandson on his doorstep--his daughter has gone to find her missing husband. Delany hires an illegal Italian immigrant, Rosa, to act as the child's caregiver while he tends to his practice. Predictably, Delany begins to have feelings for Rose and his life becomes meaningful again. The reader is given a close up view of people and their everyday lives in New York City during the Depression.
Profile Image for Tammy.
104 reviews
May 10, 2014
Everything Pete Hamill writes I absolutely love. Not only does he tell great stories with people that are real & true, he uses NYC as a character also. I always fall in love with NY in his stories just like I fall in love with the Midwest in Kent Haruf's books. The settings are characters in and of themselves.
Profile Image for Theresa Hale.
9 reviews
February 18, 2008
I love Pete Hamill and the way he writes puts me right in the story. This is a great novel that I didn't want to end!
Profile Image for Karen.
61 reviews
June 11, 2012
This book was about a struggling doctor during the Great Depression. He cares for his patients, his young grandson and the live-in caretaker. As the story unfolds, love grows stronger.
Profile Image for Dorie.
693 reviews
August 2, 2018
North River🍒🍒🍒
By Pete Hamill
Little Brown

Dr Delaney, haunted by memories of war, is a devoted and compassion physician, ministering to many who can not pay, gangsters, prostitutes and gang members.
Living alone after is wife Molly disappears, he returns home one day to find a baby in a basket on his doorstep. A note reveals it is only daughters son, Carlito, she is unable to take care of. Delaney hires a Sicilian woman, Rosa to help with the baby. Carlito and Rosa warm this lonely, sad man into a new vibrancy and love.
This takes place is 1930s New York, during the great depression, a time of Roosevelt and Tammany. His setting are so beautiful and sweeping, it was my fave part of the book.
I really like Dr Delaney, too!!
Although I loved Delaney and the dramatic setting, I found this a bit dry and lagging in place.
Recommended with a So-So rating.
Profile Image for Lesley Potts.
317 reviews3 followers
December 26, 2020
This novel is like one of those old, Sunday afternoon movies starring Jimmy Stewart or James Cagney. It’s perfectly paced, impeccably acted and totally predictable, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. It’s set in 1930s New York which leaps to life off the page. Although, I imagined this whole book in black and white. Amid all the goings on there’s a passage where Delaney goes to see the Botticelli show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One small paragraph describes what it’s like to see a much loved painting for the first time. In this case, it’s Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and it brought rushing back to me how I felt standing in front of Van Gogh’s sunflowers at the National Gallery in London when I was teenager.. And when I looked up the portrait of Dante Alighieri I got a clear idea of how the author imagined one of the gangsters in the novel.
66 reviews
January 17, 2021
James Delaney, a doctor in the 30s in a so-so section of New York, tells his story which drew me into his lonely world and kept me hoping for happier days. After his return from war, his wife Molly who meant the world to him, becomes disillusioned and walks away, never to be heard from. His daughter, Grace, grew up, married a Mexican revolutionary and is gone.

Not isolated, James has Monique, his nurse in his home-based medical practice. He has friends in the police force and contacts among the mobsters which include a man whose life in saved on the battlefield. Neighborhood folks know him and care about him as he cares for them.

One day when James returns from house calls, he finds his grandson, Carlito, in a stroller in his vestibule and a note from Grace explaining she has gone to find her husband and asking that James care for her son.

Everything changes. The boy makes it so. James has to introduce his grandson who is nearly three to English speech, the city, new foods and the world. He has to get help, make room in the house and provide on his meager income. (He gets some assistance from the gratitude of the mobster whose life he saves for a second time.)

James does a lot of soul searching as he opens his heart to the boy and to others in his life. As the author describes challenges, the city, the people and life on the streets of the time, you see many touching and tender moments. James comes to see his life, and his need for Rose, the housekeeper, as a way to forget the past and move into a future. Loving and caring for a child has opened a door.
Profile Image for Amy.
549 reviews8 followers
October 26, 2017
If you have read Hamill’s Downtown, you’ll know he constantly refers to the nostalgia imbued into the City, and here in this novel he harkens to the nostalgia of 1930’s NY. While this is a sweet love story between a middle-age Irish doctor and a tough Sicilian woman, Hamill’s approach is a bit heavy-handed with the history and pedantic in the suspense. He also plays it safe with his characters as nothing bad happens to them even though they are surrounded by danger on all sides and the mysteries are tidily resolved. However, it’s a nice story. Good for taking your mind off of worries.
44 reviews
February 11, 2020
I like how clearly this novel is situated in time and place, but that's about as far as this novel goes. Sometimes I like novels that are heavy on setting/description and lighter on plot (e.g. Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward), but this didn't cut it in that regard. Plot developments and the revealing of information come at a slow pace, and there's not much in the way of suspense beyond mob and FBI people glaring at Delaney, asking the same questions again and again, and vanishing; threats get resolved neatly and without any involvement of our protagonist. Some minor episodes and characters should have been edited out (e.g. "Izzy the Atheist," who is only in the book to stand around and briefly sneer at the church).
Profile Image for Patti Whitfield.
26 reviews
March 25, 2021
Pete Hamill's special talent is making you feel like you are a native New Yorker. In North River, he brings alive a 1934 immigrant neighborhood, full of gangsters, working class Irish, Italians and Jews. Folded into the portrait of Depression era New York is a love story, between man and woman, father and daughter, friends and neighbors. I was not inclined to like Dr. James Delaney at the start. He seemed to be a sad man in a rut but, the arrival of his grandson and a Sicilian caretaker brings everything back to life.
51 reviews
August 25, 2018
When reading this book,I became invested in this family. All the characters were real and believable.
I will read more of the author's work.
Profile Image for Roxy.
290 reviews6 followers
January 16, 2019
Pete Hamill really brings his characters to life, and I could vividly see them at this time and place in America.
Profile Image for ELDEE.
243 reviews
June 21, 2021
The depression is covered once again based in the early thirties. The main theme is loss but also love and hope. The man who wrote this book had a grip on expressing emotion I haven't seen from many. It was interesting to see how he covered one dilemma after another. The lesson for one is don't give up and to see how we all cope differently.
Profile Image for Owen Neumayer.
14 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2023
Pete Hamill is an amazing story teller. This book, along with Forever, perfectly capture what life was probably like in New York in the 1930s and 40s. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a love story, but it was still a great read nonetheless. Dr. Delaney is a man who I strive to be like, one with strong morals and endless courage. Took me longer than I thought to read North River, but it was an enjoyable read in its entirety.
October 31, 2021
Loved it. Loved the story, the characters and the book transported you to NYC during the depression. Great insight into people's lives.
Profile Image for Charlie.
120 reviews
December 11, 2018
A warm and affecting portrait of life in lower Manhattan during the depression (1934). Hard to put down. I could see and feel the grittiness of the streets, the docks, the subways and ELs, and the people. My only criticism is that the main characters were too good to be fully believable, including the three-year-old who could come up with only one tiny tantrum in the whole book.
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