A Novel inspired by True Events
Coming of Age / Fiction
Date Published: November 28, 2023
Publisher: Manhattan Book Group
What happens when a loving family man dies suddenly and a stranger takes his place?
IVY HILL is a thoroughly American coming-of-age story set in the mid-20th century. Earthy, realistic, and mordantly funny, it is rich with details of that iconic era. It is also a timeless, universal tale of redemption, morality and conquering adversity, with nearly-mythic elements anyone from any century and virtually any culture would recognize: there's a wicked giant, a good grandmother and a bad one, a "ghost" or two, and even, in a manner of speaking, a dark potion.
And at the center of the story, an innocent child.
Love, death, danger and fate intertwine in this novel, which was inspired by author Arthur Ruben's actual life. It takes place in Brooklyn from 1952-1957, then Newark from 1958-1970. Ruben's protagonist, five-year-old "Eddie," is devastated following the death of his beloved 34-year-old father. He waits in vain and with a slowly breaking heart for Daddy to return. His mother's disastrous remarriage, plus the family's wrenching move from Brooklyn, NY, to the Ivy Hill section of Newark, NJ, turns Eddie's life inside out. Over the next thirteen years, he is transformed from helpless brokenhearted child into an entirely different creature. The post-war society he was born into is also transformed: the repercussions of that potent and turbulent time, still in living memory-Viet Nam, Woodstock, the Mansons, and especially now, civil rights-are with us to this day, and will resonate with millions of readers.