The Real Mrs. Tobias
“Sally Koslow channels Nora Ephron in this lively tale of obligation versus desire and the politics of family power. Deftly written with equal parts intelligence, pathos, and humor, The Real Mrs. Tobias is a pure pleasure to read.”—Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of It All Comes Down to This
A sharply funny and big-hearted multi-generational story about the deeply complicated relationships between mothers- and daughters-in-law, told through three women who marry into the same family, a treat for fans of The Nest and Fleischmann Is in Trouble.
It’s 2015 in New York City, and three women all known as Mrs. Tobias—Veronika, the matriarch, her daughter-in-law Mel, and Mel’s daughter-in-law Birdie—are trying to navigate personal difficulties, some of which are with one another.Veronika and Mel, despite having little in common, are both psychotherapists who are more skilled at helping other people than solving their own problems. Birdie, still dealing with the culture shock of moving to New York City and marrying into the Tobias clan, is pushed to her limit when her husband gets into trouble. No amount of badgering from his steely grandmother, smart-mouthed mother, or disillusioned wife can convince him to own up to what he’s done. Overwhelmed, Birdie bolts—along with the couple’s young daughter—to her Midwestern hometown, hoping that space, warmth and wisdom from her own feisty grandmother will help her find a path forward. And though Birdie begins to find comfort in unexpected places—a local bookstore and the arms of her old boyfriend—her absence stirs up long simmering troubles back home forcing the Tobiases to reconsider their relationships to each other, and ultimately, what it means to be a family.
Will the three Tobias-women-by-marriage ever find themselves—and a way back to one another? A timely look at how women hold families together.
“With a shrewd eye and a light touch, Sally Koslow weaves a story about three strong women whose memories, dreams, and desires conflict and intersect as they navigate a series of family crises. Warm, witty, and heartfelt, The Real Mrs. Tobias is a cinematic, fast-paced treat.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Exiles and Orphan Train
"With razor-sharp prose, witty humor and depth, Sally Koslow’s The Real Mrs. Tobias takes us down the MIL Road . . . the one that should come with a warning. You will laugh, you will cry, you will empathize—and if you happen to be a Daughter-In-Law—you will say, Better her than me. Yet just when you think there is no way back, Koslow's page-turner will prove that while family ties can strangle, they also can keep you bound together through love, loss, secrets, and healing."—Lisa Barr, author of Woman on Fire
In this engaging outing, Koslow (Another Side of Paradise) explores the complex dynamics roiling a Jewish family as it faces an ethical dilemma. The Tobias family has gathered for weekly Shabbat led by matriarch, Veronika, an intimidating psychiatrist; her daughter-in-law, Mel Glazer, a psychotherapist with a thriving business; Mel's freewheeling son, Micah, who operates a food truck serving mashed potatoes; and Micah's wife, Birdie Peterson, a Lutheran who left Iowa and a writing career to live with Micah in New York City. At the dinner, Micah relates his latest escapade: after a night drinking, he absentmindedly hit "something" on the road with his truck but failed to report the accident. Later, Mel's client Norah discloses that her assistant was gravely injured in a hit-and-run by a food truck. As Mel realizes it was Micah's doing, she probes Norah in later sessions for details on the investigation. Meanwhile, Birdie abandons Micah and takes their three-year-old daughter back to her family's farm, refusing to return until he turns himself in. Koslow puts a tidy bow on the ending, which more than strains credulity, but she brings depth to her portrayal of a meddling mother and mother-in-law while exploring how family ties can both constrict and protect. Readers who love layered family dramas should take a look.