Nonfiction writer Susan Jane Gilman parlays her craft into an outstanding fiction debut, which follows an abrasive, unscrupulous protagonist from the 1910s to the early 1980s. In 1913, within months of arriving in New York City from her native Russia, young Malka Bialystoker is injured by a horse belonging to street vendor Salvatore Dinello. Deserted by her unstable mother and shiftless father, Malka is taken in by the Dinello clan out of a sense of guilt. The Dinellos never fully accept her, however, and after she has reached early adulthood, they pointedly exclude her from their fledgling ice cream business. In retaliation she begins a rival company. Gilman’s numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas.