Not Our Kind

The period right after WWII was a time awash with possibility—for some. Set in the New York City of that era, NOT OUR KIND by Kitty Zeldis  features two young women—one Jewish, one not —and the wholly unexpected consequences of their meeting.  One rainy morning two years after the end of World War II, a minor traffic accident fatefully brings together Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy. Eleanor, a teacher and recent Vassar graduate, needs a job. Patricia’s difficult thirteen-year-old daughter Margaux, recovering from polio, needs a private tutor at their Park Avenue home.

Though her mother, a hat maker with a shop on Second Avenue, disapproves of the position, Eleanor forms an instant bond with Margaux, even as she understands that the Bellamy’s circle seems hostile towards Jews.

Invited to the Bellamy’s country home in Connecticut, Eleanor meets Patricia’s unreliable, bohemian brother, Tom, recently returned from the war. The spark between Eleanor and Tom is instant and intense, and Eleanor begins to feel more comfortable in their world, despite her own mother’s warnings that she’s an outsider. Then one hot summer evening, a line is crossed, and Eleanor will have to make a decision with consequences for all of their lives.


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“[An] enthralling portrait of a woman daring to defy convention in the face of rigid social confines. Lively period details of the bustling city breathe life into Not Our Kind, a story capturing issues of discrimination, the marginalization of women and class disparities. Often veering in unexpected directions, the novel is filled with thought-provoking turns that explore timely subjects in a gripping light. . . . the book’s greatest strength is exploring how the building of relationships can help dissolve ignorance. . . . its themes linger long after the final page is read.”
— USA Today

“Drenched in rich and colorful prose, Zeldis portrays interpersonal relationships in a time and place framed in prejudice. “Not Our Kind” speaks to everyone, no matter what “kind” you are.”

—The Jewish Voice (Philadelphia)

“In its triangulated focus on a socialite mother, a Jewish teacher, and a disabled student all trying to come to terms with life narratives that deviate from previously taken-for-granted norms, Not Our Kind tackles these questions in an historical novel that resonates in contemporary Trumpian America.”

—Washington Independent Review of Books

“….Zeldis masterfully transports readers to 1947 New York to depict the relationships that develop between a young Jewish woman and a Protestant family…Lively descriptions of 1940s clothing and culture complement the realistic characters. This is a vivid, winning novel.”

—Publishers Weekly

“…Zeldis paints a vivid picture of two separate New Yorks in the 1940s—Eleanor’s shabby clothes and budget meals versus Patricia’s fancy dresses and staff-prepared dinners. Their twin journeys toward independence—Eleanor’s from her mother and Patricia’s from her husband—show that no matter how much money a woman had, she was still constrained by the misogyny and stifling gender roles of the time. A compelling tale of friendship, class, prejudice, and love.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Acclaim for Not Our Kind

“Kitty Zeldis has a gift for making even the smallest details of the past shine with vivid color. The story she tells in NOT OUR KIND—of two women in post-World War II New York trying to forge lives of integrity and purpose—resonates with the struggles of women today. Compelling, frank, and all too real, NOT OUR KIND kept me reading long into the night.”
  —Lauren Belfer, National Jewish Book Award-winning author of And After the Fire

“Kitty Zeldis shakes open a map of postwar New York City and draws the reader right down onto its streets and into the lives of the women who walk them. Her characters button up their coats and march their way through that decade’s disasters—the polio epidemic, religious prejudice, class divisions, generalized misogyny—determined to locate power and happiness for themselves and the ones they love. Not Our Kind is a beautiful and compelling read.”
 —Adrienne Sharp, author of The Magnificent Esme Wells

“NOT OUR KIND transports the reader back to 1947, to the heart of New York’s WASPy Upper East Side.  Zeldis has written a powerful and page-turning account of what happens when Eleanor ‒ smart, beautiful, and Jewish – is employed as a tutor by the troubled Bellamy family, and finds herself out of place in their world. Can the fox and the hound ever truly be friends? This engaging novel succeeds in putting a fresh, feminine spin on that question.”
   — Suzanne Rindell, author of  The Other Typist and Eagle & Crane

“Kitty Zeldis is one of those rare writers who doesn’t just weave a story, she creates a world.  In this case, 1947 New York — vivid, dazzling, challenging — where a young Jewish woman dares to cross the line into the land of WASP privilege, with unexpected results. With deeply human characters and resonant themes, NOT OUR KIND kept me reading well into the night.”
   — Jennie Fields, author The Age of Desire and Atomic Love

“Rich, evocative, and atmospheric, NOT OUR KIND by Kitty Zeldis is the story of two very different women whose chance meeting changes both their lives in the late 1940s New York. Zeldis weaves a beautifully written story not only about class and women’s roles, but also about love, friendship, motherhood, and coming of age. I was absolutely captivated by this stunning historical novel.”
   — Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Lost Letter

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