The Innocents by Francesca Segal
It’s hard to set a novel of manners in current time; especially when it’s rare to keep close to the families in your neighborhood, never mind your own family. That’s where the author’s choice of setting is brilliant. She chooses a tight-knit Jewish community in North West London. Here it’s not uncommon to keep in touch with all your elementary school classmates and know where they work, who they married and how many children they have, as well as the whole story of all their family members. Drop into this community a man who has been dating the same woman since they were in middle school. After twelve years of dating he has finally proposed and life is good. Until his fiancée’s troubled and vivacious cousin returns from New York laden with scandal and capturing his eye.
The writing style evokes a time gone by while very much set in current times; a deep character study of a few individuals and how life affects them and they affect those around them by their choices.
Apparently the must-read classic of the summer is The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Many reviews say that this novel is a retelling of that work. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never read it! But I just started The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty and the main character is reading Wharton’s book too. I just may have to add a classic to my summer reading list.