The Hester Street Kids  - Reviews

 

Ethel Kurtz Mehl‎ to Minutoli - The Hester Street Kids

December 19, 2017 at 2:18pm ·

Five out of Five Stars *****

This book is riveting. Could not put it down. Coming from NY you can appreciate every moment of suspense, love, treachery etc.
A great read!!    !t

 

 

Five out of Five Stars

 

The Hester Street Kids by Armando Minutoli

June 2, 2016   Amy Shannon Bookshelf Reviews

Five out of Five Stars -Absolutely Marvelous

The Hester Street Kids is an amazing story of the connection of this group of people, from kids to adults, who would do anything for each other. This story allowed the reader to enter the Italian culture, and even into the mob. It shows what can happen when ideals and expectations are different from reality. It's a book that you can't put down until the end. I am so glad that I've read it, and it won't be the last book I read by Minutoli

 

The Hester Street Kids
by Armando Minutoli
Fiction - Thriller 452 Pages
Reviewed on 2/26/16 by: Burns Milheron:

 

Five out of Five Stars


I just finished Hester Street Kids and I truly want you to
Know that I was quite pleased with your work. It had probably the most exciting opening I've read in quite a while!

You should be very proud of your first work of fiction. It was a very smooth. And enjoyable read. Your characters were both complex and unique, which can be very hard to do with mafia style works, as characters in most works of this kind are usually retreads of the same mold. You were very wise to avoid that trap- especially in a first work, congrats!

I must say as someone who has lived and worked a long time on Long Island, it was nice to
See some hometown names and sites within your work. Like the LaSalle Military Academy, which is known to most on the south shore of Suffolk County.

So- back to the story....  I thought I knew who the serial killer or the older women was,
And.....I was wrong! Your sub plots moved the story well and which one was going to be
The finale, the mob war, the love story, the manipulation of the young boy..... And, it turns out-
They all were. I could almost see the sequel writing itself as the young man enters adulthood
And must choose which way his life goes- as strong as characters like Kevin, and his sister-
Or will he be the future of the "family"-modern, smart, removed from the dirty side of old school
Corruption, just as the families discussed just before the end....just a thought...

So, thank you, it was a joy to read, just as your Author’s Note at the end of the novel....

 

The Hester Street Kids
by Armando Minutoli
Fiction - Thriller - General
452 Pages
Reviewed on 01/26/2016

 

Book Review

Reviewed by Anna Smith for Readers' Favorite

 

Five Out of Five Stars

The Hester Street Kids by Armando Minutoli is a thrilling mystery and family saga set in the 1950s. Katherine is the daughter of a Little Italy pharmacist. She's a first generation, college-educated woman and something of a rarity in her Italian-American community. But when she learns of the criminal alliances between members of her family and close personal friends, she is shocked. Could some of the people she is closest to be actual cold-blooded killers? The more Katherine questions what is going on in her neighborhood, the more she wishes she didn't know what is going on. When it comes time to reveal these secrets to her new love, Katherine worries she could lose him forever. All she wants to do is protect those she loves and give herself a chance at true happiness.

The Hester Street Kids is a beautifully written historical fiction piece that very nicely depicts life in the 1950s. I loved every description about this time period. It felt so authentic and real and I really enjoyed being dropped into that era! I learned what it was like for a woman in that era, as well as an immigrant, both of which were educational for me. Armando Minutoli also does a nice job of showing Italian mobsters without stereotyping the characters. This was an important part of the story, but it isn't a mob story or a story about Italians in the mob. It is a story about good versus evil, and right and wrong choices.

 

The Hester Street Kids

The characters resonate in my mind.

By Murray Eskenazion November 4, 2015

Format: Hardcover

 

Five Out of Five Stars

This is a terrific novel. The story is riveting---I kept reading into the early morning hours because I couldn’t put it down. As a native New Yorker, familiar with Little Italy and the people who live there, this story has the authentic flavor and tone of the neighborhood and the characters. The events are right out of the headlines. I wish there had been another 25 chapters. Long after I finished the book the characters resonated in my mind. Mr. Minutoli, please write a sequel. I give a five out of Five Stars

Murray Eskenazi
Delray Beach, FL

 

 

Kitty Muse Book Reviews

By Kitty on October 28, 2015

Format: Paperback

 

Five Out of Five Stars

 

Little Italy, New York, in the early 20th century, was not a place anyone would choose to live. Immigrants to the States from their homeland came by the droves, expecting a better life. Instead what they got was hell. Racism kept them from bettering themselves, therefore poverty was pervasive throughout the tenements and streets.
    Helpless and frustrated, they took out their emotions on each other and on their children. The kids, in turn, found each other and became the family that they lacked. And what happened for one of them happened for all.  It's easy to see how the group of friends who called themselves the Hester Street Kids found solace in each other, and eventually how they found acceptance into an entity bigger than themselves--the Italian Mafia.
    But this book is more, much more, than just the story of these young people. It also tells the tale of what happens to their offspring. Katie, the daughter of a Mafia boss, grows up in a much more loving, stable home than her parents did. She has also been oblivious to the way her father really makes his money. He masquerades as a pharmacist, but what he does in reality is horrendous. Because she is shielded and sheltered from his reality, she never asks the deeper questions. However, a couple of things happen to rock her world and make her see it in a new light.

    A confession by a relative that reveals all, and the entrance into her life by a man (Kevin) from a world vastly different from hers, causes the scales to fall from her eyes. What she learns, and what she experiences with Kevin, changes her life forever.
    This is an astounding work. The story line grabs one's attention immediately, and does not let go until far beyond the last page. Mr. Minutoli has done a splendid job of bringing life to each of his characters. He also has a talent for bringing balance to the story line, which is not easy to do with so many characters and vignettes.

    I'm totally floored by how pervasive the Mob can be--for surely the author had done his homework and knows of what he writes. There is no reason to doubt that, although this book is fiction, the dealings of early 20th-century crime bosses depicted in these pages reflect a cruel reality.There is no final, settled ending to this book, although many of the characters gain a happiness unknown before in their lives. And why? Because crime is always out there--waiting. Waiting to take in yet another gullible, love-starved individual and comfort him or her with material delights. And there's always someone out there.

 

Five Out of Five Stars

 

By Amazon Customer on October 10, 2015

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This is the first book I've read by the author, Armondo Minutoli, but it definitely won't be the last. This historical fiction had such a connection to my cultural heritage that it kept me intrigued from the very beginning. Coming from a 2nd generation of Italian immigrants, the description of foods, the broken Italian/English language used by the characters and the deep belief in the Catholic Church brought me back to the days of growing up 4 houses down the street from my grandparents. All Italians in the Buffalo area lived in the same section of town so we all knew each other which is similar to the streets of New York City in the Hester Street Kids.
    The foods described in the story were part of our Sunday meals at Grandma's house and the basis of our weekly get togethers with everyone in the family always present. Those meals so authentically described by the author still cannot be reproduced by any of the 23 grandchildren who enjoyed the breads, sauces, and dishes prepared with love and so few ingredients by our grandparents. The only difference between the Italians in the story and our weekly family gatherings was the home made wine shared by all-no matter what the age.
    Our family didn't personally experience the infiltration of the "Mafia" but we did have a strong loyal family bond similar to the description of the Hester Street families. We also all remain close to this day.
    The weaving of religion throughout the story is what really hit home when it described how Catholic beliefs permeated all parts of the characters' lives. That deep commitment to the power of the church, it's teaching and sanctity of priests, nuns was so strong with our grandparents but in reading this book has made me realize that it's lost its strength in the families today.
    Outside of the personal connections for me, I found this book to be well written with an easy flow to all of the characters and events. Armando's writing style is the basis for my recommendation to read his other publications.

 

Five of Five Stars

 

By Carmine Crudele, Bayshore, NY

September 19, 2015

 

The Hester Street kids is a fast moving thriller. It gives a slice of life in the mob that, similar to a cancer, infested NYC after WWII.  It depicts the cold hearted demeanor of the mobsters who follow a code of obedience regardless of who the victims of their crimes will be while masquerading as typical family people; the book digs deeply into the nefarious layers of the underworld.  By contrast, the book also shows the resentment of the hard working people who hate the clutch that the mob has on their lives and look for ways to escape the grip of this relatively small and undesirable element. It is entertaining, historically sound and morally insightful, enriched by sub-stories, which connect and add a sense of reality. I highly recommend it.

 

 

Five of Five Stars

 

The Hester Street Kids to be one of my all-time favorite novels. Even though it is fiction

By Donna T Gardner on September 24, 2015 Format: Paperback

 

I found Hester Street Kids to be one of my all- time favorite novels. Even though it is fiction, the story is based on what the Mafia was really like. The story is interesting, informative and entertaining. Don Kazimir

 

Five of Five Stars

 

Worth reading for those who love crime or New York history

By PW on August 27, 2015

5 out of 5 stars

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

 

 Five of Five Stars

 

This book gives you insight into the world of the Mafia and New York in a time gone by. Wonderful character descriptions and in the middle of it all- a love story! Mr Minutoli kept me interested.

 

Theresa Needham Fehse's review

Jun 23, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in June, 2015

 juliesbokreview.blogspot.com

 

 

 Five of Five Stars


Katie (Katherine Burdino) is an Italian-American nurse in New York’s Little Italy . She meets Kevin Mandrell, a CIA agent and accomplished concert pianist with the Zurich Philharmonic, by chance, when Kevin finds himself wandering through the wrong neighborhood on the way to meet a CIA contact. Kevin is saved by a young boy, Billy, who has lost his parents. Billy takes Kevin to Katie’s home for safety. Katie and Kevin develop an instant attraction.

Katie and Kevin fall in love, but their romance is complicated by the mafia ties in Katie’s family. While growing up, Katie never knew that her father, an upstanding pharmacist, was behind so much illegal activity. However, after being taken into confidence by a concerned aunt, who grew up with her father, Katie comes to realize the unsettling depths of her father’s underworld connections, which began with his childhood on Hester Street (hence, the novels’s title -- The Hester Street Kids).

The Hester Street Kids is an enjoyable read about Italian American life in urban America in the 1950s. The author delves into the main characters’ culture and religion and how it has affected their everyday life. Some of the characters are enjoyable, others disgusting, some pitiable. The interactions among these various individuals makes for a great story filled with intrigue and suspense.

I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a fiction novel with historically accurate descriptions of the culture of Italian Americans in the United States in the mid-20th century.

Siobhan

 Five of Five Stars

 

Loving Family or Mob - You Choose!

By Linda Baumann on August 7, 2015

Format: Hardcover, Paperback and eBook

 

Author Armando Minutoli has written a book that cannot be put down until it is read in its entirety. Born to poor Italian immigrants, in the 1920s, 5 children; Concetta, Birdie, Peppino, Anthony and Tommaso formed a pact to stay together and protect each other. Their meeting place was a table handmade by Birdie as a school project. The kids shared their joys and sorrows and formed plans to seek revenge for wrongs done to each of them. When Concetta is abused by her drunken father, Birdie steps in as the group leader and says to leave the problem to him. The children grow up to become involved in street crime. Because of their daring escapades and not getting caught, the mob watched Birdie with a careful eye as they liked his low-key personality.

Skip to the 1950s. The Hester Street Kids are grown up and married but still remain friends who would do anything for each other. Birdie, upon returning from the service is placed in a pharmacy by the mob as a front. Illegal dealings and back-room surgeries are carried on in the back rooms of the pharmacy. Birdie has a family at home who has no idea of his real status as a mob figure and an adoring daughter, Katherine, who thinks he hung the moon. When she learns of her fathers crimes she is heartbroken and determined to delve deeper into his background. She meets Kevin, falls in love and they make plans to marry. Her whole world threatens to crumble as she finds out the friends and loved ones she has held in the highest esteem are also members of the mob.

What will Katherine do with the information she has gleaned? Will she and Kevin have a future? Will the mob continue to overtake New York City?

You'll have to read this fascinating book to find out. It's not only well-written, but suspenseful, historical, and a story of innocence shattered. I guarantee you'll love it!

 

 Five of Five Stars

 

Gifted book for honest review. juliesbookreview.blogspot.com, June 23, 2015

By 

Theresa F

This review is from: The Hester Street Kids (Kindle Edition)

Katie (Katherine Burdino) is an Italian-American nurse in New York’s Little Italy . She meets Kevin Mandrell, a CIA agent and accomplished concert pianist with the Zurich Philharmonic, by chance, when Kevin finds himself wandering through the wrong neighborhood on the way to meet a CIA contact. Kevin is saved by a young boy, Billy, who has lost his parents. Billy takes Kevin to Katie’s home for safety. Katie and Kevin develop an instant attraction.

Katie and Kevin fall in love, but their romance is complicated by the mafia ties in Katie’s family. While growing up, Katie never knew that her father, an upstanding pharmacist, was behind so much illegal activity. However, after being taken into confidence by a concerned aunt, who grew up with her father, Katie comes to realize the unsettling depths of her father’s underworld connections, which began with his childhood on Hester Street (hence, the novels’s title -- The Hester Street Kids).

The Hester Street Kids is an enjoyable read about Italian American life in urban America in the 1950s. The author delves into the main characters’ culture and religion and how it has affected their everyday life. Some of the characters are enjoyable, others disgusting, some pitiable. The interactions among these various individuals makes for a great story filled with intrigue and suspense.

I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a fiction novel with historically accurate descriptions of the culture of Italian Americans in the United States in the mid-20th century.

Siobhan
 

Five of Five Stars

 

Excellent historical fiction, July 10, 2015

By 

Christy K. Cagle

This review is from: The Hester Street Kids (Kindle Edition)

If you're looking for a book to read, you should definitely get this one! Armando Minutoli really knows how to keep his readers intrigued. I thoroughly enjoyed Hester Street Kids. It was also nice to read historical fiction that was very well researched. I look forward to reading more by this author. Go ahead and onemail click this book. You won't be sorry!

 

 Five of Five Stars

 

For immediate release

Armando Minutoli
Delray Beach, Florida

aminutoli@earthlink.net

 

THE HESTER STREET KIDS

"The feisty daughter of a Little Italy pharmacist learns of her father's secret prominence in the New York Mob. Her discovery unravels lies and treachery that stir her very existence and risk her search for love.”

Author Armando Minutoli’s first work of fiction provides a backstory of the power of Sicilian Mob in 1950’s New York:  The Hester Street Kids (460 pp., tpb, $26.95 hard cover, $17.95 Softcover along with a $8.99 US for an EBook), a saga, one that talks to the plight of Italian American immigrants striving for a living in the new world under the thumbs of the mafia.  

    Armando is the author of a non-fiction book about the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a small Bosnian village, titled: “Medjugorje, A Pilgrims Journey.” with the forward by and collaboration with Author John Westermann, “Exit Wounds.” The Second Edition was released in 2010.  Also, the book is in the process of its Spanish language translation due for completion in late 2015. 

The Hester Street Kid’s although written with an underlying message of moral choices, evokes a range of emotions through first hand encounters of Mobster gang life in the 50s, lust for territory and control, serial plotting and murder, the family code and secrets, sinful lust and love.

     Its richly portrayed environment and settings reveals a historic glimpse into the postwar time of the economic growth of the 50’s. The author gives realistic encounters modeled after his own personal experiences as a youth growing up in New York in the intense 1950’s economic upsurge.

    Armando Minutoli spends his time writing. He is currently marketing his novels and screenplay adaptations. He holds a Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Social work from Fordham University School of Social Service.

 

ISBN’S:  978-0-9630544-3-2 Hardcover, 97809630544-5-6 Softcover, 97809630544-4-9 EBook

Books are available through all major online retailers; Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. or, through The Morning Star Press. Delray Beach, Florida

URL: www.themorningstarpress.com

 

To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Armando Minutoli:

Email: aminutoli@earthlink.net

 

 

 Five of Five Stars

 

Dr. Gaetano Cipolla, Chairman of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at St. John's University in New York City ... Arba Sicula (Sicilian Spring) and the newsletter Sicilia Parra (Sicily Speaks).

 

Book Review

Armando Minutoli, The Hester Street Kids, Delray Beach: The Morning Star Press, 434 p. ISBN 978-1-9630544-5-6.

The book I am about to review for this issue,  The Hester Street Kids by Armando Minutoli, published by the Morning Star Press in 2008, brought back some memories that I would have preferred not to reawaken. They have nothing to do with the actual book and I apologize for recount- ing the event, but as they have remained in my consciousness for at least 12 years they must have really made an impression. I owned an apartment in Fort Lauderdale with my sister and occasionally spent a week there during the January break, but my sister and her family used it more often, together with my mother who enjoyed living in the warm climate of Florida during her old age.

 

During one of my visits, my mother was not feeling well and I did not want to leave her alone in the apartment. So to enjoy the warmth of the sun and perhaps get a tan, I opened the door of the apartment and sat on a chair outside the open door on the terrace-like external walkway that ringed the three-story u-shaped apartment building. While I was enjoying the sun, a woman approached from one end of the walkway and when she passed in front of me, she spoke to me with disdain in her voice saying: “You really should not sit outside the door, this is not Hester Street!” Her tone of voice bothered me, but I tried to explain that I did not want to leave my mother alone and wanted to get some sun.

 

I sensed it was a racist remark, but I did not make the right connection. I thought that Hester Street was a ghetto inhabited by Jewish immigrants in the 1920s-1930s. Did she think I was Jewish? As I later found the woman was the president of the condominium board and she was Jewish herself. She also must have known that the owners of that apartment were Italian and it was unlikely that I would not be Italian. She did not know who I was, nor that I was a full professor at a major University, with a Ph.D. and had written dozens of books. All these years the fact that I did not react more forcefully than I did has bothered me and now it bothers me even more thanks to the book at hand which confirms that Hester Street was part of Little Italy in lower Manhattan and it was a place inhabited primarily by Italian/Sicilian immigrants whom Americans regarded for a long time as an “inferior race”.

 

The full extent of the woman’s racist remark finally was made clear. That was the first and last racist remark ever addressed to me personally, although I know a lot about the racism used against Sicilians in the United States. But it bothers me still that I did not answer that good woman as she deserved.

Reviewed by Anna Smith for Readers' Favorite

Five out of Five Stars

The Hester Street Kids by Armando Minutoli is a thrilling mystery and family saga set in the 1950s. Katherine is the daughter of a Little Italy pharmacist. She's a first generation, college-educated woman and something of a rarity in her Italian-American community. But when she learns of the criminal alliances between members of her family and close personal friends, she is shocked. Could some of the people she is closest to be actual cold-blooded killers? The more Katherine questions what is going on in her neighborhood, the more she wishes she didn't know what is going on. When it comes time to reveal these secrets to her new love, Katherine worries she could lose him forever. All she wants to do is protect those she loves and give herself a chance at true happiness.

The Hester Street Kids is a beautifully written historical fiction piece that very nicely depicts life in the 1950s. I loved every description about this time period. It felt so authentic and real and I really enjoyed being dropped into that era! I learned what it was like for a woman in that era, as well as an immigrant, both of which were educational for me. Armando Minutoli also does a nice job of showing Italian mobsters without stereotyping the characters. This was an important part of the story, but it isn't a mob story or a story about Italians in the mob. It is a story about good versus evil, and right and wrong choices.