Sadie in Love, a novel by Rochelle Distelheim

Sadie in Love Cover
In her warmly comical and deliciously entertaining debut novel, master storyteller Rochelle Distelheim sweeps us back to 1913 and the world of struggling Jewish immigrants in New York City’s Lower East Side.

Sadie Schuster—fortyish, plumpish, a suffragette, and recently widowed—spends more time now talking to her late husband, Fivel, than when he was alive. Sadie keeps Fivel informed of her daily activities—especially her pursuit of a husband—because “An empty bed is a cold place for a hot-blooded woman.” A lover of ballroom dancing, the moving pictures, and night-school English words, Sadie’s true talent lies in the magic love knots she artfully crafts for lonely, unwitting, immigrants willing to purchase hope wrapped in a schmattah for fifty cents.

Selling love knots while seeking love, Sadie consults with her magic spirits to woo Herschel— the muscled ice peddler who reads poetry and pines for his newly departed wife. Her daughter, Yivvy, sells secondhand, possibly “pinched” tchotchkes in her antique shop and plans to marry the Irish cop on the beat. Enter, Ike Tabatnik, the “Dance King of Riga, Latvia,” just off the boat and ready to take on America and Sadie’s heartstrings. Comedy and chaos follow.

A stunning confession, following the wedding of one of her love knot clients—which begins with one groom and ends with another—pushes Sadie to make a surprising choice. She then throws herself at the mercy of her magic spirits, asking them to do quickly for her what they have been doing for her customers—before it’s too late.

About Rochelle Distelheim

Rochelle Distelheim has won numerous awards for her writing, most recently, the 2017 Gival Press Competition for Short Story, as well as The Katharine Anne Porter Prize, The William Faulkner Gold Medal in Novel, Salamander Second Prize, Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards And Fellowships, The Ragdale Foundation Fellowships, Glimmer Train Finalist, Emerging Writers, Nominations for The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Press Prize. Visit Rochelle at

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