In her fifth novel, Two of a Kind, Lilith’s Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough tackles the still-thorny subject of intermarriage. Christina Connelly, Catholic by birth, falls in love with Dr. Andy Stern, who is Jewish. Among the many impediments to their ultimate happiness is Andy’s mother, Ida, a Holocaust survivor. Below is an excerpt:
The streets of this unfamiliar neighborhood on the warm, late spring were lovely: brownstone and limestone houses side by side, mature trees, flowers in urns, window boxes and planters. In another mood, Ida would have stopped to linger but today she had a mission. An urgent mission. It was the unborn baby. The baby that belonged to her son and that this Christina person might actually abort. For Ida, the loss of this baby would be a fresh sorrow heaped upon so many past sorrows. She didn’t think her old heart could stand it.
There had been another lost baby, decades ago, fathered by Jurgi, the boy who lived across the road. He’d been her best friend for years, like a brother, until they’d been hurriedly married and practically shoved into a room alone together after the wedding. “Do you know what we’re supposed to do?” he had whispered, suspecting, correctly as it turned out, that their parents were listening anxiously at the door.
“Not really,” she had answered, knowing she should be more nervous than she was, but this was Jurgi and how could she be nervous with Jurgi? They did not figure out what they were supposed to do that night, or the night after that. But on the third night, he came into the room at Ida’s house that they were now told was theirs looking very serious. “I understand now,” he said to her. “My father explained it all to me.”