Monday, May 7, 2012

'The Innocents'

Be honest, married people (and even people who almost got married). How soon before the wedding did the claustrophobia set in?  And when did the 'scared' feeling finally hit the pit of your stomach?

For me, I didn't feel claustrophobic.  But the 'scared' feeling set in after the wedding.  Did I do the right thing?  Will I lose my personal identity?  And just how long will his mother be living with us?

When I first opened Francesca Segal's new novel, 'The Innocents', I just knew that that delightful old feeling of paranoia would soon revisit me.  She definitely got it right; the story is full of indecision, claustrophobia, secret desire, and the all-too-familiar feeling of just chucking it all and running away.

Adam Newman has it all:  Rachel Gilbert, the perfect fiance√©; a wonderful, loving family and neighbors; a job he loves and a boss who is his surrogate father (and Rachel's father).  Adam and Rachel have been together since they were in their teens, and both live in the tight-knit London suburb of Temple Fortune.  But now that Adam and Rachel are getting ready to marry, in waltzes Ellie, Rachel's cousin, who turns Adam's world upside down.  He begins to question his choices; security or adventure?  Love or lust?  Tradition or independence?

Although 'The Innocents' is a recasting of Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence', Ms. Segal should know that this reader found her debut novel thoroughly original, and, at turns, hilarious, thought-provoking, and very familiar.  

Her characters, which are so well-drawn, earn sympathetic reactions, while at the same time, you just want to shake them and say, "Stop the pushiness!"  

Kudos to Ms. Segal.  This is a great Summer read!

The Innocents will be released in June 2012 by HarperCollins.

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