Reviews of  Stitching A Life

“In this YA novel, a young Jewish woman and her family flee persecution and seek a better life in the bustle of turn-of-the-century Manhattan. A pleasant read.”
Kirkus Reviews


Stitching a Life is a passionate retelling of one woman’s journey.”
―Readers’ Favorite, 5/5 stars


“The heroine of this story is my grandmother as well as the author’s. For years I wondered about her life in Lithuania as a young girl, about her brave journey to America on her own, what her life was like when she got here, and how she met my grandfather. To my shame I never asked her about any of these things. But Mary Helen Fein has brought them all to life for me in wonderful, vivid colors, and now I see her as the young woman who eventually became my beloved old Nana.”
―Julian Barry, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Lenny and many other films

“ . . . a perfect introduction to Historical Fiction (in particular the topic of the Jews, WWI and WWII) for children and adults alike! . . . focused on the bravery and the incredible things lots of people achieved.”
―The Book Mermaids

“This heartfelt immigration story is far more that the story of a single family. It is the story of America and the birth of what became The American Dream for so many immigrants from all over the world. Mary Helen Fein renders this very big story by showing us the small moments of a family who sought refuge from oppression in the arms of a new and welcoming country. Touching, inspiring, and timely, this story stirs patriotism of the most intimate kind and reminds us of the deepest ideals and of this country.”
―Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, author of Fire & Water and Filling Her Shoes

“You will quickly fall in love with Helen as she saves her brother from the Russian army, braves the hardship of an ocean crossing to America and saves her money diligently to rescue the rest of her family. You will also fall in love with the New York city of the early 1900s. Fein’s descriptions of the city bring it to life as it becomes a major character in Helen’s life. Amazon Reader

I loved this story. My Grandpa came to New York in 1900, from Shlov in Russia. He was 18, and had 50 cents in his pocket. He came to the Lower East Side in Manhattan as well. This story could have been my family. I fell in love with the Breakstone’s, and a question I have for the author is, Are they any relation to the famous dairy company here in the US. I loved reading about Hester Street and the Lower East Side (my mom grew up on Rivington Street, the pushcarts, the apartments and the people,the food, the Jews…God Bless the Jews!!!!) This book needs to be sold at the bookstore in the Tenement Museum! Thank you to Mary Helen Fein and to She Writes Press and NetGalley for the ePub. I loved this book!

This book is rated 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon. See all 23 reviews on Amazon.


Reviews of Loss of  Deliverance

The following is a selection of the 21 excellent reviews that appear on Over 10,000 people have read this book. It’s a good read, as all the reviews attest.


This is an excellent read and would make an action-packed movie. Loss of Deliverance will resonate for anyone who has ever been in over their head due to the strong influence of peer pressure. It begins with a small step and soon Claire finds herself far down a path that was created by and truly belongs to her partners. Coming from a broken home, she wants and desperately needs to find acceptance and approval from others. At first she was unclear on the danger and ugliness of the business with her “Flower Child” perspective. Her partners also take major advantage of her financially as they purchased fancy homes, elite cars and an upscale nightclub. Claire is happy to upgrade the furnishings in her apartment, purchase a modest car and rent a small studio to pursue her love of painting. Fortunately, you sense that she will go forward into a much brighter future.

Jolie Blonde Life

This novel reads as a first-person account of an adventurous, but naive, young woman who got sucked into the highs and lows of the international drug trade. She escaped to tell the tale, unlike some of her cronies. I was immediately pulled into the seafaring world of the protagonist, Claire, by the book’s mysterious cover. This story would make a terrific movie — I can see Jennifer Lawrence in the lead! I’ve known people who’ve gone the route of Claire, and the moral dilemmas faced by her in the book ring true. I recommend this book to anyone who might be curious about the “glamorous” drug lifestyle.

Cherry DuLaney


A fascinating look at the dark side of life in the free-flowing drug culture of the 70’s. The author is fortunate that she did not become another Piper from “Orange is the New Black” because she managed to get herself in and out of some frightening situations that either put her life in jeopardy or could have resulted in long prisons sentences. Fortunately for her, her intelligence and creativity led her on a positive path to a productive and successful life; however, those she left behind were not as lucky.


It’s more than a page-turner: breath-catching danger and suspense are woven into the portrait of a sensitive young woman who is both spirited and vulnerable, intelligent and stupid. I couldn’t help but love her. Mary Helen Fein captures the ’60’s and ’70’s counterculture with sumptuous descriptions of beaches, bodies, highs, art, and, above all, sailboats. Whether or not you were twenty-something back then, she immerses you in a time when young (white) Americans could recklessly cast their fates to the wind in a relatively safe and secure world. Main character Claire makes some very risky choices. I won’t tell you if she and her friends end up getting rich or instead shipwrecking their own lives.

Connie Sturm

It’s a shame that the makers of Orange Is The New Black never had a chance to read this book. Their heroine is about as layered and deeply thought out as a blade of grass whereas the young woman in this book is very complex and deeply thought out making it more than just a simple story of a middle class girl who goes astray in the drug trade. The book is seductive in that were it not for the fact that the cover tells us where it is going we might never have realized that this young woman is about to get into a most dangerous game for which her middle class background never prepared her. And yet once there she embraces it with gusto. If you’ve had enough with Locked Up Abroad or the previously-mentioned Orange Is The New Black I highly recommend this fast-moving, fascinating story.

Julian Barry

This book is rated 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon. See all 21 reviews on Amazon