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Extended Audio Sample The Tin Horse Audiobook, by Janice Steinberg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 5 3.77 (13 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Janice Steinberg Narrator: Kate McGregor-Stewart Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9780385359481
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It has been more than sixty years since Elaine Greenstein’s twin sister, Barbara, ran away, cutting off contact with her family forever. Elaine has made peace with that loss. But while sifting through old papers as she prepares to move to Rancho Mañana, or the “Ranch of No Tomorrow” as she refers to the retirement community, she is stunned to find a possible hint to Barbara’s whereabouts all these years later. And it pushes her to confront the fierce love and bitter rivalry of their youth during the 1920s and ’30s, in the Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

Though raised together in Boyle Heights, where kosher delis and storefront signs in Yiddish lined the streets, Elaine and Barbara staked out very different personal territories. Elaine was thoughtful and studious, encouraged to dream of going to college, while Barbara was a bold rule-breaker whose hopes fastened on nearby Hollywood. In the fall of 1939, when the girls were eighteen, Barbara’s recklessness took an alarming turn. Leaving only a cryptic note, she disappeared.

In an unforgettable voice layered with humor and insight, Elaine delves into the past. She recalls growing up with her spirited family: her luftmensch of a grandfather, a former tinsmith with tales from the Old Country; her papa, who preaches the American Dream even as it eludes him; her mercurial mother, whose secret grief colors her moods, and of course audacious Barbara and their younger sisters, Audrey and Harriet. As Elaine looks back on the momentous events of history and on the personal dramas of the Greenstein clan, she must finally face the truth of her own childhood, and that of the twin sister she once knew.

In The Tin Horse, Janice Steinberg exquisitely unfolds a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters and the profound and surprising ways we are shaped by those we love. At its core, it is a book not only about the stories we tell but, more important, those we believe, especially the ones about our very selves.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Steinberg’s quietly suspenseful novel is compelling by virtue of her sympathetic characters, vivid depiction of WWII-era Los Angeles, and pinpoint illuminations of poverty, anti-Semitism, family bonds and betrayals, and the crushing obstacles facing women seeking full and fulfilling lives.”


  • “A sweeping family saga reminiscent of the writing of Pat Conroy, where family secrets and flashbacks combine to create an engrossing tale of growth and loss. Highly recommended for fans of family drama and historical fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • “Steinberg, the author of five mysteries, has transcended genre to weave a rich story that will appeal to readers who appreciate multigenerational immigrant family sagas as well as those who simply enjoy psychological suspense.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jayne | 2/19/2014

    " This is a story rich in struggles and family dynamics. And the unique relationship of twins is always of interest to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna Lawrence | 2/18/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having two sisters myself, I could relate to the complicated feelings of sisters who are close, but quite different. Janice Steinberg is an excellent storyteller--I didn't want to put the book down. I definitely recommend The Tin Horse! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ticklish Owl | 2/15/2014

    " If you liked this book, you might also enjoy The Adventures of Augie March, Bridge of Sighs or May the Road Rise Up to Meet You. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marisa Gonzalez | 1/22/2014

    " The story of two Jewish twin sisters growing up in the 20's and 30's in Los Angeles. By the time they reach the age of 18 one of the sisters runs away never to be seen again and tells how the other now in her 80's searches for her in the present day. I liked how this book described life during their childhood. While the reasons for running away were not a big surprise it was still a pretty good book if you want to read about people in that era and about the Jewish culture on the west coast at that time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Slickery | 1/18/2014

    " Slightly disappointed in the ending because I wanted to know more about how things would change now. But this is a beautifully written, compelling novel that reads as a memoir. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 1/4/2014

    " Great multi-generational story of Romanian Jewish family in LA. Couldn't wait to see how the mysterious disappearance of Elaine's twin turned out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 12/12/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this Jewish story of a family living in Los Angeles in the 20's through 40's intertwined with the search fro one of the children who ran away. Again i learned about the immigration experience, this time from Romania. Great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Yomtov | 11/11/2013

    " Lovely book about family history and th ties that bind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 10/11/2013

    " Probably more like 3 1/2 stars - it was an enjoyable read and I liked the characters, the setting and the family saga. Just not sure if it is "meaty" enough to use as a book club selection . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 7/26/2013

    " I was torn on this one - while I truly enjoyed the writing and the story, I was dissatisfied by the end, I wanted more of an explanation than I got. I would still recommend this book, especially to fans of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (as I am), as it's got a similar feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Ann | 5/9/2013

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this story! You grow up in your family, but the story you grow up with can be and often is different from that of you sibling(s). Wow did that idea pack a punch. Good, fast read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie Parke | 5/5/2013

    " Rounding up from 3.5 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobeylynn Birch | 1/23/2013

    " I liked some parts of this book better than others. The contemporary story did not grab me as much as the historical story of growing up in an immigrant Jewish family in Boyle Heights. The resolution of the contemporary story felt pat and unnecessary. "

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About the Author

Janice Steinberg is an award winning arts journalist who has published more than four hundred articles in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dance Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is also the author of five mystery novels, including the Shamus Award–nominated Death in a City of Mystics. She has taught fiction writing at the University of California, San Diego, and dance criticism at San Diego State University. A native of Wisconsin, she received a BA and MA from the University of California, Irvine. She holds a blue belt in the Nia dance-fitness practice and teaches weekly classes. She lives in San Diego with her husband.