At the age of twenty-eight, Adam is engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of twelve years, and can foresee a brilliant future: partnership in his father-in-law's legal firm, holidays with their extended families on the Red Sea, evenings out with the friends they've known since childhood in the well-heeled London neighbourhood they've shared since birth. It's a perfect match: the fulfillment of the desires and expectations of everyone Adam knows and loves. When Rachel's beautiful cousin Ellie suddenly appears in shul at the beginning of Yom Kippur, having returned to London to escape her scandal-touched past in New York, Adam's comfortable perspective and chosen life path begin, for the first time, to feel uncomfortable. Initially troubled by Ellie's presence and the gossip that her questionable history arouses, he soon finds himself dangerously drawn to the worldly, vulnerable young woman, his imagination ignited by her fierce independence and lack of regard for convention. As their impossible relationship plays itself out under the watchful eyes of their close-knit community, Adam is forced to examine the competing demands of his heart and re-evaluate every choice he has ever made. The Innocents portrays modern-day Jewish life with both wit and empathy, guiding us effortlessly through a contemporary cultural milieu whose social rules, both spoken and unspoken, are just as claustrophobic as those of 19th-century New York. Heralding the arrival of a major new literary talent, this irresistible story is a novel of manners for the 21st century.
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