With echoes of Rules of Civility and The Boston Girl, a compelling and thought-provoking novel set in postwar New York City, about two womenâ€”one Jewish, one a WASPâ€”and the wholly unexpected consequences of their meeting.
One rainy morning in June, two years after the end of World War II, a minor traffic accident brings together Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy. Their encounter seems fated: Eleanor, a teacher and recent Vassar graduate, needs a job. Patriciaâ€™s difficult thirteen-year-old daughter Margaux, recovering from polio, needs a private tutor.
Though she feels out of place in the Bellamysâ€™ rarefied and elegant Park Avenue milieu, Eleanor forms an instant bond with Margaux. Soon the idealistic young woman is filling the bright young girlâ€™s mind with Shakespeare and Latin. Though her mother, a hat maker with a little shop on Second Avenue, disapproves, Eleanor takes pride in her work, even if she must use the name "Moss" to enter the Bellamysâ€™ restricted doorman building each morning, and feels that Patriciaâ€™s husband, Wynn, may have a problem with her being Jewish.
Invited to keep Margaux company at the Bellamysâ€™ country home in a small town in Connecticut, Eleanor meets Patriciaâ€™s unreliable, bohemian brother, Tom, recently returned from Europe. The spark between Eleanor and Tom is instant and intense. Flushed with new romance and increasingly attached to her young pupil, Eleanor begins to feel more comfortable with Patricia and much of the world she inhabits. As the summer wears on, the two womenâ€™s friendship growsâ€”until one hot summer evening, a line is crossed, and both Eleanor and Patricia will have to make important decisionsâ€”choices that will reverberate through their lives.
Gripping and vividly told, Not Our Kind illuminates the lives of two women on the cusp of changeâ€”and asks how much our pasts can and should define our futures.