Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ivy Hill


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.


Read an Excerpt Below


IVY HILL, co-authored by Arthur Ruben with Eleanor Cooney, is inspired by true events.

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Excerpt from "Ivy Hill"

He made another trip to the vault, unaccompanied this time, with another selection of her jewelry.  He’d decided to always take the stairs down from her fifth-floor apartment when he was carrying. If the elevator broke for some reason, he didn’t want to be trapped with a briefcase full of jewels. He wanted to always be able to move. On the third trip, he was descending the stairs between the fourth and third floors when he was surprised by two men coming through the door onto the landing. One was young, around thirty, not tall but shaped like a bear, and the other was older, in his 60s, with a hat and a black beard: Rabbi Kaplan.

The younger one, as it turned out, though Irwin never got a proper introduction, was Mrs. Rivkin’s nephew. It seemed that he, too, had had his eye on the treasure in the closet, and had kept a mental inventory. He informed Irwin of all of this in terse, colorful, economical language as he seized the briefcase, shoved Irwin down the stairs to the next landing, forced the case open, gathered the jewelry and stuffed it in his pockets, then  tossed the briefcase, papers flying, down to Irwin.

The Rabbi had stood grinning at the top of the stairs, looking at Irwin where he lay in a heap.

Get out and never come back, he said. Your services are no longer needed.

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