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The Innocents

Cover of The Innocents

The Innocents

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"It is impossible to resist this novel's wit, grace, and charm." —Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.

Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. To Adam, Rachel embodies the highest values of Temple Fortune; she is innocent, conventional, and entirely secure in her community—a place in which everyone still knows the whereabouts of their nursery school classmates. Marrying Rachel will cement Adam's role in a warm, inclusive family he loves.

But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when Rachel's younger cousin Ellie Schneider moves home from New York, she unsettles Adam more than he'd care to admit. Ellie—beautiful, vulnerable, and fiercely independent—offers a liberation that he hadn't known existed: a freedom from the loving interference and frustrating parochialism of North West London. Adam finds himself questioning everything, suddenly torn between security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. What might he be missing by staying close to home?

"It is impossible to resist this novel's wit, grace, and charm." —Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.

Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. To Adam, Rachel embodies the highest values of Temple Fortune; she is innocent, conventional, and entirely secure in her community—a place in which everyone still knows the whereabouts of their nursery school classmates. Marrying Rachel will cement Adam's role in a warm, inclusive family he loves.

But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when Rachel's younger cousin Ellie Schneider moves home from New York, she unsettles Adam more than he'd care to admit. Ellie—beautiful, vulnerable, and fiercely independent—offers a liberation that he hadn't known existed: a freedom from the loving interference and frustrating parochialism of North West London. Adam finds himself questioning everything, suddenly torn between security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. What might he be missing by staying close to home?

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About the Author-
  • Francesca Segal was born in London and studied at Oxford and Harvard University before becoming a journalist and critic. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, and The Observer, among other publications. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction column in The Observer and was, until recently, a features writer at Tatler. She lives in London.

Reviews-
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "Inspired by The Age of Innocence, Segal's book is warmer, funnier, and paints a more dynamic and human portrait of a functional community that is a wonderful juxtaposition to Wharton's cold social strata."
  • —Lauren Groff, bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia "Francesca Segal's lustrous debut may have begun as a seed shaken from Edith Wharton's masterpiece The Age of Innocence, but only a few pages will show how completely Segal has made The Innocents her own. The setting—a vibrant if enclosed London Jewish community—is beautifully counterbalanced by Segal's wry and compassionate voice."
  • —André Aciman, author of the award-winning Out of Egypt, Call Me by Your Name, and Alibis "The Innocents is written with wisdom and deliciously subtle wit, in the tradition of Jane Austen and Nancy Mitford...This is a wonderfully readable novel: elegant, accomplished, and romantic."
  • —Esther Freud, author of Love Falls and Lucky Break "A moving, funny, richly drawn story...Full of real pleasures and unexpected wisdom, this book sweeps you along."
  • —Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection and Insignificant Others "Writing with warmth, humor, and control, Segal brings to life an impressively large cast of characters, and makes The Innocents a generous, memorable first novel that I found hard to put down."
  • —Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife "I was captivated by this alluring novel...Segal writes with dazzling psychological precision, conjuring up characters who are complex, engaging, and utterly real."
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    Hyperion
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The Innocents
The Innocents
Francesca Segal
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