They Were Like Family to me by Helen Maryles Shankman…Book Blast

About They Were Like Family to Me: Stories


They Were Like Family to MePaperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (October 4, 2016)

“An absolutely dazzling triumph…A singularly inventive collection” (Jewish Book Council) of linked stories set in a German-occupied town in Poland during World War II, where tales of myth and folklore meet the real-like monsters of the Nazi invasion.

Critically praised, beloved by readers, In the Land of Armadillos has an evocative new cover and title, They Were Like Family to Me. Now in Paperback! Available October 4.

  1. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town. We meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son’s favorite picture book; a Messiah who appears in a little boy’s bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town’s most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect “his” Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker, struggling to survive.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, They Were Like Family to Me is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

“One of the most original and consistently captivating short story collections to have appeared in recent years…(They Were Like Family to Me) is a singularly inventive collection of chilling stark realism enhanced by the hallucinatory ingredient of top-drawer magical realism, interrogating the value of art, storytelling, and dreams in a time of peril and presenting hard truths with wisdom, magic, and grace.” —Jewish Book Council


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books a Million | Barnes & Noble






“BOOK BLAST” for They Were Like Family to Me:

Monday, September 26th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, September 27th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 27th: Read Love Blog
Wednesday, September 28th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, September 29th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Friday, September 30th: Bibliotica
Friday, September 30th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Monday, October 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 3rd: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, October 4th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, October 4th: 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, October 4th: The Whimsical Cottage
Tuesday, October 4th: Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, October 4th: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, October 5th: Reading is My Superpower
Wednesday, October 5th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Thursday, October 6th: WV Stitcher
Thursday, October 6th: Helen’s Book Blog
Thursday, October 6th: Books a la Mode
Friday, October 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, October 7th: Travelling Birdy
Sunday, October 23rd: Writer Unboxed – author guest post
Date TBD: BookBub Blog – author guest post


About Helen Maryles Shankman

Helen Maryles Shankman’s stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She was a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Story Contest and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers competition. Her stories have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewGargoyleCream City Review2 Bridges ReviewGrift, Jewishfiction.net, and other publications. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Color of Light and the story collection They Were Like Family to Me. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband and four children.


Connect with Helen

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  1. Kathy Valentine says:

    Shared on all my social

  2. Thanks for featuring this book for the tour!

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