Nestled in a tight-knit Brooklyn community, 65-year-old Sima Goldner’s discount lingerie shop is a prime business in her orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and, more importantly, it is also a haven for the many women who frequent her small basement store. Discontented with her marriage to a bumbling, retired schoolteacher named Lev, Sima pours herself into her business and her varied customers, many of whom use the privacy of her shop as a forum to ruminate about their relationships, families, and lives. Sima’s everyday routine is indelibly changed with the arrival of the young, vibrant Timna, an attractive Israeli expatriate who applies to work as a seamstress. As the relationship between Sima and Timna evolves, Sima finds herself confronting the realities of her infertility and the complexities of her past, long shrouded in shame and adolescent regret. Backdropped by the shop’s colorful patrons, Stanger-Ross’ engaging novel follows Sima as she struggles to find balance in navigating her newfound relationship with Timna while exploring the intense depths of personal reconciliation and redemption. --Leah Strauss
--This text refers to the
From Entertainment Weekly
Despite the excitement of owning her own lingerie business, Sima's childless life seems an empty shell until an Israeli woman named Timna walks into her Brooklyn shop and becomes the daughter (and seamstress) she never had. Timna soon becomes an object of obsession for Sima, who tries to control the love life of her new employee as she reflects on her own. Sima's Undergarments for Women's conclusion is frustrating you'll wait for a juicy revelation about Timna that never arrives Ñ but no matter. In Sima, Ilana Stanger-Ross has created one of the most painfully realistic characters in recent memory, making Women more delicate and refined than the silkiest of nighties.
"Hidden beneath the red and orange brick two-story homes of Boro Park, Brooklyn, is Sima Goldner's basement lingerie shop, where for 35 years she has practiced the mystic art of finding and fitting just the right brassiere for all types of women. "In a glance she could see their size, the back and the cup combined. '36-D,' she'd say. In vain the women protested, 'but I'm a 34. I've always been.' [But] when on her advice they slipped back on their shirts to evaluate the shape a new bra gave, they inevitably agreed." So, too, will readers slip into Brooklyn native Ilana Stanger-Ross's debut novel, finding something both comforting and uplifting. Sima's life looks enviably stable, with her successful business, her tight-knit Orthodox community and her decades-long marriage to Lev. But Sima herself is very much an outsider: "no one gathered at her table for Shabbat dinner, no one caught her up on the gossip outside synagogue on Saturday." And her marriage has lasted years, but it comes with a sense of emptiness and crippling distance as Lev repeatedly chimes, "I didn't notice you were gone." Then a young, vivacious Israeli named Timna blows into her shop, sticks around as a salesgirl and proves to be the catalyst that will reveal the gaping wounds bubbling underneath Sima's placid exterior." The New York Post
Backdropped by the shop's colorful patrons, Stanger-Ross engaging novel follows Sima as she struggles to find balance in navigating her newfound relationship with Timna while exploring the intense depths of personal reconciliation and redemption.Booklist
CharmingÉfilled with gentle uplift.Kirkus
This book is a rare little bird that should have a chance to spread its wings widely and at great distance. Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind Blog
This is Ilana Stanger-Ross' first novel and she has certainly succeeded in writing a though-provoking and meaningful debut. I felt very invested in Sima and her feelings and hoped that she would overcome the hardships of her past and let Timna's influence prevail. I loved the sense of camaraderie that is almost tangible throughout the novel between all the women sharing the common bond and connection through Sima's shopÉThe book itself is incredibly charming and well-written. Bookopolis.blogspot.com
Sima's Undergarments for Women is a novel alive to the hidden stories all around us, from the bittersweet ambivalence of adulthood's first choices to the heartbreak and forgiveness that form the underwire of any long marriage. With grace, good humor, and a seamstress's eye for the way unconnected lives can become stitched together, Ilana Stanger-Ross pulls back the curtain on a world of intimacy many know well but no one has described so movingly.--Peter Manseau, author of Songs for the Butchers Daughter
You're in for a novel that's truly novel. Breaking new ground in graceful, unselfconscious, and very funny prose, Stanger-Ross explores the force of thwarted "mother-love" its power both to harm and to ultimately heal.--Ellis Avery, author of The Teahouse Fire From Library Journal
Sima Goldberg, owner of a bra shop in Brooklyn, NY, is the kind of woman whom other women trust. Sima is privy to the thoughts and desires of her clientele as she custom-fits each one with undergarments that lift, correct, and enhance their female figures...all at discount prices, of course. But while her patrons bare their souls to Sima, she manages to keep the biggest secret to herself, one that has been a burden for over 46 years. It is only when Sima hires Timna, a young Israeli girl, to be her assistant that her secret is exposed. Timna is a free spirit who moves through Sima's life offering her the allure of love and adventure, yet when Timna flees, she leaves behind a wake of destruction. Debut novelist Stanger-Ross writes about the intimacy among women whose lives are defined by their Orthodox Jewish community. She deftly reveals just enough information about her characters to excite the reader's curiosity without making the story line predictable. In the end, this is a tale about appreciating one's life, and isn't that what life is about?
--This text refers to the