Based on Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, Francesca Segal's debut is about a not-so-innocent husband-to-be with an extreme case of wedding jitters.
Adam and Rachel have been together for 13 years by the time they decide to get married. Born and raised in the Jewish community of Hampstead, they are the prince and princess of their society and everybody has been waiting for them to set the date. Narrated by Adam, Francesca Segal has written a sharply realistic novel about the difference between comfort and complacency in long-term relationships. The perfect love story would not be complete without the femme fatale embodying extra-marital temptation, this time in the form of Rachel’s 22-year-old cousin Ellie – a rebel-without-a-cause model who dresses inappropriately for Synagogue and trails a string of married men behind her like a daisy chain.
And Adam is tempted. 'Last meal on death row’ style, he is torn between lust and love; sex and marriage, desperate to dispel his final throes of masculinity before the ring goes on his finger. Segal’s writing is delicious; as Adam’s obsession grows with Ellie, so does ours with the whole situation. Her portrayal of north-west London’s middle-class Jewish community is fascinating, based on Wharton's New York society. The Innocents creates a world so rich and real, it brings modern relationships and infidelity searingly to life.