Stitching A Life, An Immigration Story
Mary Helen wrote an historical novel for young adults about her grandmother, Helen Breakstone Fein, who came to New York City in 1900, alone across the Atlantic at the age of sixteen. Helen found a place to live with relatives who had come before, and began work in the schmatta trade, New York’s thriving garment industry. Through hard work, but with good humor and great perspective, Helen devoted herself to reuniting her entire family, freeing them from the specter of anti-Semitism that threatened all the Jews in Europe and especially those in Russia.
One at a time, she sent tickets back to the old country to bring her siblings to New York. With each new family member who arrived, earning power increased and more tickets could be purchased more quickly. Eventually the entire family of eight was reunited in New York. Helen married her true love, moved way out to the country (now the Bronx) and had eight children of her own.
This is the story of how immigrant families made the United States great. The author hopes this story will change minds today about immigration and help everyone to see how the many races and cultures enrich our lives today. Stitching A Life was published by She Writes Press in the summer of 2020.
Loss of Deliverance
In 2014, Loss of Deliverance, Mary Helen Fein’s first novel, was published. This is a fast-paced story of a young woman who gets over her head in the drug trade of the 1960s. What started out as stimulating excitement gradually turns to danger and exposure. Gradually she realizes that she is caught up in a harsh trade, one that forces her to separate herself from others in a web of lies and complications. She reaches the conclusion that she must change her life. This is the story of how this young woman finds her compass, faces facts, and makes her way into a better life.
This book will appeal to young people finding their way in the world, and to all those who lived through the wild times of the 1960s and 1970s. It’s available on Amazon here.