American Dreams Book Review from @kleffnotes

In 1904, the very young Max is rushed away from Czarist Russia by his father after the brutal rape and murder of his mother at the hands of Russian soldiers. While this tragedy is what pushed them to leave for the shores of American, Max finds someone he winds up falling in love with. Sophie is a young Polish girl who becomes close friends with Max almost immediately after they meet. As much as he loves her, Max finds Sophie ripped away from him when she is forced to marry a local crime boss. In the pages of American Dreams readers follow as Max pushes himself to climb the criminal ladder and Sophie struggles to find a way to still live her dreams.

When Max makes the decision to become involved in the underworld he slowly finds himself gaining more power and prestige. When a power vacuum is created he is able to expand his control throughout New York. As the story evolves we are introduced to a collection of immigrants from a variety of backgrounds and countries who are all trying to find their way. Even brief encounters lead to later connections with the criminal element in the city. Outside of Max and Sophie one of the major characters is an Irishman name Jonathan who is able to grow his own income through a connection with Max. His own story is full of tragedy, much like Max and Sophie’s stories. As everyone works towards their dreams and pushes to gain their own version of the American dream relationships are tested, broken, and reformed. Unexpected elements emerge which will surprise you as everyone continues to evolve.

American Dreams is a complex and surprising read. With a diverse assortment of interconnected characters Kenneth Bromberg delves into the melting pot of American immigrant culture. Each person is trying to find themselves and create the life that they have always dreamed of. There are a number of triggers throughout this story, which is not entirely surprising due to the criminal focus of the plot. I will note that violence against women is prevalent throughout, though in one situation Sophie is tremendously strong and fighter back against a man trying to take advantage of her. Spanning the course of multiple years we watch as each of the characters begin to rise in influence, Max and Sophie in particular are able to make names for themselves in their chosen industries. The story then jumps forward to when the sons of two of the primary characters serve in World War II. Each had their own plans for the future, but the war is looming. Bromberg has created a story that will keep you guessing as the pages and the years progress. He blends historical fiction and crime writing together in a way that will attract a variety of readers. You can pre-order your copy of American Dreams from Flame Tree Press today.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog,, and on my kleffnotes YouTube channel.

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