By Tanner Stransky
Updated June 08, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

In 1934 Manhattan, it’s not just the Depression that’s got James Delaney down. After his wife mysteriously goes MIA and his only daughter takes off (leaving 2-year-old son Carlito with Delaney), the Irish doctor faces lonely parenthood. Worse, Delaney saves a kingpin’s life and gets caught in a Mob showdown. Then Rose, a sage Italian woman hired to care for the child, enters his world. Between her and the infectious Carlito, Delaney musters the courage to really live again. Pete Hamill’s love story North River casts an engaging spell, and Manhattan-lovers will delight in the gritty particulars (”haughty mansions peering down at them in limestone disdain”). A-