The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg
A Novel

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In the stunning tradition of Lisa See, Maeve Binchy, and Alice Hoffman, The Tin Horse is a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bond sisters share and the dreams and sorrows that lay at the heart of the immigrant experience.

It has been more than sixty years since Elaine Greenstein’s twin sister, Barbara, ran away, cutting off contact with her family forever. Elaine has made peace with that loss. But while sifting through old papers as she prepares to move to Rancho Mañana—or the “Ranch of No Tomorrow” as she refers to the retirement community—she  is stunned to find a possible hint to Barbara’s whereabouts all these years later. And it pushes her to confront the fierce love and bitter rivalry of their youth during the 1920s and ’30s, in the Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights.
Though raised together in Boyle Heights, where kosher delis and storefront signs in Yiddish lined the streets, Elaine and Barbara staked out very different personal territories. Elaine was thoughtful and studious, encouraged to dream of going to college, while Barbara was a bold rule-breaker whose hopes fastened on nearby Hollywood. In the fall of 1939, when the girls were eighteen, Barbara’s recklessness took an alarming turn. Leaving only a cryptic note, she disappeared.
 In an unforgettable voice layered with humor and insight, Elaine delves into the past. She recalls growing up with her spirited family: her luftmensch of a grandfather, a former tinsmith with tales from the Old Country; her papa, who preaches the American Dream even as it eludes him; her mercurial mother, whose secret grief colors her moods—and of course audacious Barbara and their younger sisters, Audrey and Harriet. As Elaine looks back on the momentous events of history and on the personal dramas of the Greenstein clan, she must finally face the truth of her own childhood, and that of the twin sister she once knew.
In The Tin Horse, Janice Steinberg exquisitely unfolds a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters and the profound and surprising ways we are shaped by those we love. At its core, it is a book not only about the stories we tell but, more important, those we believe, especially the ones about our very selves.

Advance praise for The Tin Horse
“Steinberg, the author of five mysteries, has transcended genre to weave a rich story that will appeal to readers who appreciate multigenerational immigrant family sagas as well as those who simply enjoy psychological suspense.”—BookPage
“Steinberg . . . has crafted a novel rich in faith, betrayal, and secrecy that explores the numerous ways people are shaped and haunted by their past. . . . A sweeping family saga reminiscent of the writing of Pat Conroy, where family secrets and flashbacks combine to create an engrossing tale of growth and loss. Highly recommended for fans of family drama and historical fiction.”—Library Journal
“Steinberg’s quietly suspenseful novel is compelling by virtue of her sympathetic characters, vivid depiction of WWII-era Los Angeles, and pinpoint illuminations of poverty, anti-Semitism, family bonds and betrayals, and the crushing obstacles facing women seeking full and fulfilling lives.”—Booklist

From the Hardcover edition.

About Janice Steinberg

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JANICE STEINBERG is the author of five mysteries published by Berkley in the 1990s, including the Shamus-nominated Death in a City of Mystics. She is also an arts journalist, specializing in dance, and has published more than 400 articles in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dance Magazine,Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. Janice lives with her husband in San Diego.

Author Residence: San Diego, CA

Author Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Published January 29, 2013 by Random House. 354 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Elaine’s mother, an immigrant from Romania with a dramatic streak, and her father, a shoe salesman who had to quit high school despite his love of literature after his older brother died in World War I, head the cast of colorful relatives as Elaine’s stories pile on a glut of dramatic coincidence...

Dec 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Tin Horse: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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When Elaine Greenstein stumbles on an old business card in her mother's papers, she wonders if it might be the key to finding her twin sister, Barbara, who disappeared at the age of 18.

Feb 11 2013 | Read Full Review of The Tin Horse: A Novel

Steinberg (Death in a City of Mystics; The Dead Man and the Sea) here focuses on the Greenstein family, particularly twins Elaine and Barbara. Part detective novel, part sociological look at life in the Jewish Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, and part story of a family's secrets, the bo...

May 24 2013 | Read Full Review of The Tin Horse: A Novel

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