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Press & Praise

Praise for Sima’s Undergarments for Women

“Despite the excitement of owning her own  lingerie business, Sima’s childless life seems an empty shell — until an Israeli woman named Timna walks into her Brooklyn shop and becomes the daughter (and seamstress) she never had. Timna soon becomes an object of obsession for Sima, who tries to control the love life of her new employee as she reflects on her own. Sima’s Undergarments for Women’s conclusion is frustrating — you’ll wait for a juicy revelation about Timna that never arrives — but no matter. In Sima, Ilana Stanger-Ross has created one of the most painfully realistic characters in recent memory, making Women more delicate and refined than the silkiest of nighties. A–”Entertainment Weekly

“Hidden beneath the red and orange brick two-story homes of Boro Park, Brooklyn, is Sima Goldner’s basement lingerie shop, where for 35 years she has practiced the mystic art of finding and fitting just the right brassiere for all types of women. “In a glance she could see their size, the back and the cup combined. ’36-D,’ she’d say. In vain the women protested, ‘but I’m a 34. I’ve always been.’ [But] when on her advice they slipped back on their shirts to evaluate the shape a new bra gave, they inevitably agreed.  So, too, will readers slip into Brooklyn native Ilana Stanger-Ross’s debut novel, finding something both comforting and uplifting.” —New York Post

How could I not adore this? It’s a debut novel set in Boro Park and features a mature woman who owns an undergarment shop that caters to those of all ages and ethnicities, but really shines an inward light upon her secret shame and empty marriage when a young Israeli girl, brimming with life, arrives to turn everything upside down. The conflicts are meted out in fine detail, and Sima – the aforementioned propreitor – is all too believable in what she holds back, how she feels and what she does, no matter how wrong-headed those actions might be. This book is a rare little bird that should have a chance to spread its wings widely and at great distance.” –Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

In Brooklyn’s Borough Park, Sima Goldner runs a bra shop from her basement while tolerating her oafish husband, Lev, who lords over the upstairs. But when young and beautiful Israeli expatriate Timna takes the gig as the shop’s seamstress, Sima confronts some long-hidden feelings, fears and impulses, and her formerly small life opens up. From the very first page, this is an assured narrative with an even surer voice; readers will know that they are in the hands of a real storyteller as Sima and Timna forge a partnership. Neighborhood subplots bubble along nicely as Stanger-Ross charts Sima’s awakening and shows how Timna’s arrival and continued presence affect Sima. The bra shop works wonderfully as a stage and forum for the many ladies who tromp through it. This ends up being much more than a novel of female bonding–it’s a subtly powerful treatise on friendship, trust and love, written with plenty of verve.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“There’s wisdom in [Stanger-Ross’s] just-published first novel, Sima’s Undergarments for Women….she can be proud of the craftsmanship that shows in the cadences of the prose and of her nuanced insight into the human condition.” –- Vancouver Sun Vancouver Sun pdf

“A subtle, provocative, and utterly compelling examination of the friendship between two women at different stages in their lives, as well as a window into the complexities of love and marriage. Ilana Stanger-Ross’s smart, beautifully written debut novel will linger with me for a long time.” Michelle Richmond, author of The Year of Fog

“Debut novelist Stanger-Ross writes about the intimacy among women whose lives are defined by their Orthodox Jewish community. She deftly reveals just enough information about her characters to excite the reader’s curiosity without making the story line predictable. In the end, this is a tale about appreciating one’s life, and isn’t that what life is about?” — Library Journal

“Charming…filled with gentle uplift.” – Kirkus

“Ilana Stanger-Ross’ impressive debut novel takes place mostly in the intimacy of her eponymous shop, where women share stories, peeling off layers of secrets as they try on the silky things worn closest to their skin. Stanger-Ross’ quick portraits of the mothers and daughters passing through are poignant, sometimes hilarious. –Jewish Week

“Welcome to the lively, intimate world of an underground Brooklyn bra shop, where proprietor Sima Goldner brings out the best in other women’s bodies, even as she grapples with her barren marriage and a long-held secret. But when she becomes obsessed with the young gorgeous Israeli girl she takes on as her seamstress, her life slowly awakens.  A wonderfully rich and deeply moving story about female friendship and the power of reinvention, whether it’s with the proper bra—or the right person.” Dame Magazine February Pick

“Stanger-Ross’s great talent, at least on this occasion, lies in her understanding of the shadings of female friendship. She never pretends that all of it is benign. There are moments of revenge, of schadenfreude, of jealousy, but she wraps all of it within a richly authentic-sounding language and compassionate grace.” —The National Post

Nestled in a tight-knit Brooklyn community, 65-year-old Sima Goldner’s discount lingerie shop is a prime business in her orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and, more importantly, it is also a haven for the many women who frequent her small basement store….Sima’s everyday routine is indelibly changed with the arrival of the young, vibrant Timna, an attractive Israeli expatriate who applies to work as a seamstress. As the relationship between Sima and Timna evolves, Sima finds herself confronting the realities of her infertility and the complexities of her past, long shrouded in shame and adolescent regret. Backdropped by the shop’s colorful patrons, Stanger-Ross’ engaging novel follows Sima as she struggles to find balance in navigating her newfound relationship with Timna while exploring the intense depths of personal reconciliation and redemption.”  – Booklist

“As delicious and revealing as a silky chemise,  Stanger-Ross’s ebulliently readable novel limns the lives of two indelibly different women, even as it unveils secrets about love, longing, and the way a life can transform.  So evocative and moving, it takes your breath away.” Caroline Leavitt, author of Girls in Trouble

“I was beginning to worry that the book would not deliver up to its promise, despite the charm of the setting of the store itself and of the Orthodox Jewish community (the wire set up to define the neighbourhood for Shabbat, the scene in the mikveh, the ritual bath, the women in their wigs). But just as I feared this, there came one of those perfect reader’s moments, a scene of searing intimacy and revelatory beauty that makes Ilana Stanger-Ross an author to watch for beyond this confident first novel.” —The Globe and Mail

Sima’s Undergarments for Women unfolds like the relationship between two lovers; from the initial chance encounter to the giddy delights of flirtation and to the heartbreaking trauma of the final goodbye….Because it is set in a women’s undergarment store, I am trying really hard to avoid calling this book uplifting. But it is that and much more.” — Canadian Jewish News

“Stanger-Ross handles her narrative with a steady hand and does an admirable job of creating the special intimacy of a lingerie shop….To the question that Sima poses to herself — “How much, after all, could one expect of life?” — she is finally able to answer, “More.” –Edmonton Journal

“A novel alive to the hidden stories all around us, from the bittersweet ambivalence of adulthood’s first choices to the heartbreak and forgiveness that form the underwire of any long marriage. With grace, good humor, and a seamstress’s eye for the way the unconnected lives can become stitched together, Ilana Stanger-Ross pulls back the curtain on a world of intimacy many know well but no one has described so movingly.” –Peter Manseau, author of Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter

“You’re in for a novel that’s truly novel. Breaking new ground in graceful, unselfconscious, and very funny prose, Stanger-Ross explores the erotic force of thwarted mother-love– its power both to harm and to ultimately heal.” –Ellis Avery, author of The Teahouse Fire

Stanger-Ross is best when capturing the simple moments: the idle talk of the shop’s customers, the keen observations Sima makes, the easy way Timna moves through time and space, the closeness of the Orthodox community….This is a quiet novel. The drama is subtle yet emotional, and Stanger-Ross is never heavy-handed….As an exploration of marriage, friendship, childlessness and longing, Sima’s Undergarments for Women is powerful. —Bookreporter.com

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