Reviewer Mary Lignor: Mary is a retired librarian, originally from Connecticut but now living in New Mexico. All her life Mary has loved books and has passed this love on to her daughters. Mary started working in a library when her children were young as an Assistant Librarian and ended up as its Director. Her favorite books are suspense, political intrigue and anything involving the World War II era.
Title: The Money God
Author: Zena Livingston
A story of very damaged relationships
between mothers and daughters starting in the 30's in the Catskill
Mountains of upstate New York and ending during the 60's in New York
Celia is born to a family who run a small farm and hotel in the Catskills in the 1930's. Her mother and father came from Russian Jewish immigrants who came to America to give their families a better life. The mother, Sophie, is a very domineering type that runs the family including a father, Ruben, and two sons, Sam and Abe along with Celia, with an iron fist. Celia marries Henry, who also works at the hotel as a manager. Their marriage is a happy one that is blessed with a daughter, Estelle. Sadly, Henry is diagnosed with TB and Ruben passes away within a short time after Henry's bad news. The family goes on but the economy is failing and the hotel is not making a profit. Sophie decides to sell the farm and move to the city to be near her family. She arranges a marriage for Celia, saying that she will not take care of her and her child and she needs to go on with her life with a new husband. Celia meets Morris who owns a clothing factory in New York. Morris lost his first wife during childbirth and has two sons. One son is the same age as Estelle and they get along well and the other is slightly retarded and has to be enrolled in a special school. Celia tries to keep the families together and does a fairly good job. She misses the love of her life Henry, but is faithful to Morris, except for an assignation which, by the way, could have been left out of this saga completely. During all this time the war in Europe was warming up and friends and family were going off to France to fight. This included Morris' oldest son who joined the Air Force. The story jumps ahead to Estelle's relationship with her mother and also Ann. Ann is born to Celia and Morris later in life and she is blamed for things that she had no part in and becomes her father's favorite. Celia is always upset because she is not getting the attention that she craves from everybody. All this attention is going to Ann. Morris passes away and Celia marries another Morris, who is well off financially, but doesn't like Celia's daughter, Ann. And so the bad feelings and jealousy go on and on until the end.
The Money God is supposedly a family saga but, I have to admit that if I were part of this family I would probably run away. It doesn't seem to me that Celia was all that fond of having a lot of money. She just wanted enough to live well but, she didn't seem to crave only money. She also wanted to be loved and cared for but, didn't know quite how to go about it and made a lot of mistakes along the way. But, that's only my opinion. Sophie was definitely not a nice person and she passed her feelings along to Celia even though they did not get along. Estelle started out OK but her husband was wounded in World War II and they didn't get along all that well and had a marriage in name only. The only one who seemed to come out of this disfunctional family moderately unscathed was Ann and she had a very hard time at first.
I was anxious to read this because I love family sagas and always look forward to seeing how these people got through their lives given all the adversity that usually comes with books of this type. But, this family didn't like each other at all and showed it. I'm sure that there are people in the reading public that would enjoy this book and I wish Ms. Livingston well but, it just wasn't for me.