The Innocents by Francesca Segal
Voice ISBN 978-1-4013-4181-7 282 Pages
In Francesca Segal’s novel, The Innocents, Adam Newman is finally engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of twelve years. They live in Temple Fortune which is a Jewish suburb in North West London. This is a place where everyone knows everyone. Even so, there are surprises and secrets. Adam’s father died when Adam was young. His mother did not remarry. Rachel’s parents enveloped him into their immediate and extended family. To them he is the perfect man for their beloved daughter. Adam adores Rachel-he is charmed by her kindness and innocence. He is confident that they will learn and grow from new experiences. The entire community welcomes their union.
Complications develop. Rachel’s beautiful cousin, Ellie, returns to London from New York City. She is totally different from anyone else in the tightly knit community. She has appeared in a film that may or may not be labeled as an art film. Her college career has ended without a degree and there is the matter of her long relationship with a married man who gave her a fair amount of money. Adam is drawn to her for what she represents. She is both independent and a free thinker. He becomes convinced that he loves her and that she, and not Rachel, is the woman he wants to spend his life with. However, it is Rachel that he marries, but this is not where the story ends. A financial scandal surfaces that effects much of the community, Rachel’s and Ellie’s beloved grandmother suffers a stroke and Adam and Ellie reconnect. And then comes an unexpected surprise.
The author brings to life a large cast of characters. She deftly describes them and she tells their story with warmth and humor. She is an accomplished story teller and she has written honestly about loyalty, temptation and enlightenment. This is a very readable novel and I highly recommend it.
I received the book free of charge from LibraryThing Early Reviewers and I give this review of my own free will.