WINNER OF THE SAMI ROHR PRIZE FOR JEWISH LITERATURE 2013
What if everything you’d ever wanted was no longer enough?
Adam and Rachel are getting married at last. Childhood sweethearts whose lives and families have been intertwined for years; theirs is set to be the wedding of the year.
But then Rachel’s cousin Ellie makes an unexpected return to the family fold. Beautiful, reckless and troubled, Ellie represents everything that Adam has tried all his life to avoid – and everything that is missing from his world. As the long-awaited wedding approaches, Adam is torn between duty and temptation, security and freedom, and must make a choice that will break either one heart, or many.
'Wonderful...witty…an astonishingly accomplished debut which will draw comparisons between Segal and Zadie Smith and Monica Ali' Stylist
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Delightful… Segal’s writing is wise, witty and observant. - The Times
Wonderful...witty…an astonishingly accomplished debut which will draw comparisons between Segal and Zadie Smith and Monica Ali. - Stylist
An impressive debut...the struggle to achieve true adulthood, the loss of innocence and the consequences of adapting to a culture that levies certain expectations on its members, are all cleverly worked into a poised text - Sunday Times
A subtle, witty and acutely observed study of a narrow but very recognisable world. - The Observer
Witty and touching... An assured and audacious debut - Daily Mail
Compelling... Segal writes with an understated elegance - Observer
Humourous and touching - Independent
The central story transcends time, reflecting the omnipresence of love and its conflicting web of duty, confusion, temptation and lust. - The Lady
Stylish, witty, wonderfully moreish -
The Innocents is an exuberant, sensitive, witty novel, elegantly written, partly a study of universal dramas of love, marriage and fear, partly a very modern, sassy London story, partly a Jewish novel. I found it irresistible - Simon Sebag Montefiore
A moving, funny, richly drawn story of a young man's attempts to find out who he wants to be when there are so many others who know best. Full of real pleasures and unexpected wisdom, this book sweeps you along - Esther Freud
A beautiful, bittersweet novel -
Written with wisdom and deliciously subtle wit, in the tradition of Jane Austen and Nancy Mitford. Francesca Segal has a remarkable ability to bring characters vividly to life who are at once warm, funny, complex, and utterly recognizable. This is a wonderfully readable novel: elegant, accomplished and romantic - Andre Aciman
An elegant little novel and a real delight to read... an updated version of the 1920 Pulitzer-prize-winning The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton - the parallels are close, but given how deeply anti-Semitic the New York social elite was in that period, transplanting the story to a Jewish community is not only clever, it also gives a wider, more general point of reference, in quite a subtle way - Book Oxygen
·A mature love story that meditates on community and ties that bind…a contemporary recasting of that adroit classic, The Age of Innocence…Just like Old New York, this is a community that has its own way of doing things, and The Innocents takes its cue from Wharton’s anthropological musings, doubling as a primer on the importance of the Friday night dinner, the symbolism of the Rosh Hashanah, and the evolution of the Christmakah party…Segal…is a writer of instinctive warmth who can divertingly lavish a full page on a breakfast spread, yet she never loses sight of this haunted truth’ - Standpoint
The Innocents has garnered her a next-Zadie-Smith style buzz. - Tatler
Segal writes with delicacy, accumulating details that create the texture of Adam and Rachel’s world… Adam is well drawn and not unsympathetic, and Segal has skillfully created a cast of secondary characters, including Ziva, a survivor of the Holocaust. - Metro
It takes chutzpah to appropriate such a well-loved classic but Segal parallels the two convention-bound worlds with aplomb… [a] classily composed comedy of manners - Independent
Impresive debut…a poised text - Sunday Times
Wittily observant - Daily Express
Hugely enjoyable first novel... The end result falls somewhere between Charlotte Mendelson's When We Were Bad (about a matriarchal Jewish rabbi) and David Nicholl's One Day (with its theme of mismatched love) and is all the more pleasing for that - Observer
Elegant little novel and a real delight to read - BookOxygen.com
Francesca Segal was born in London in 1980. Brought up in the UK and America, she studied at St Hugh's College, Oxford, before becoming a journalist and critic. Her work has appeared in Granta, the Guardian, the Financial Times and both American and British Vogue, amongst others. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction Column in the Observer and she has been a Features Writer at Tatler. The Innocents is her first novel.