Read what people think about The Innocents by Francesca Segal, and write your own review.

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Innocents

A Novel

by Francesca Segal

The Innocents by Francesca Segal X
The Innocents by Francesca Segal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2012
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book


Page 2 of 3
There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Innocents
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Jane D. (Boulder, CO) (05/20/12)

Innocents and innocence
I was mesmerized by this book. I always like getting to know a different world, and in this case it was the Jewish community in London. It does exactly what I love about good literature—shows the universal human condition and emotions in a setting and culture different from my own. It also touches on current financial issues. A very enjoyable read. I didn't want it to end.
Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD) (05/17/12)

OK but not great
I was intrigued by the premise--retelling the story of Age of Innocence in a modern setting. Even though we have such a fascination with scandal, it seemed like it would be a stretch to make such a scenario seem believable in the 21st century, but Francesca Segal seems to have pulled it off. Despite a turn toward melodrama at the end, the situation seems realistic enough. I don't know enough about the London Jewish community to know whether the portrayal is an accurate one. As Adam struggles with his feelings toward his fiancee and her cousin, I wanted to smack him and tell him to get over it. Despite that or maybe even because of it, I found that I didn't really care whom he chose, because I didn't particularly like Rachel or Ellie. The book was a relatively quick read, and it was OK but not great.
Shirley D. (Amherst, MA) (05/16/12)

The Innocents
The Innocents shows meticulous research, and good grammar (always a sticking point for me). The second element I look for – strong vocabulary and interesting characters. While I thought The Innocents beautifully written, for me at least one character has to be one I can “know” and care about. I must hear him or her speaking to me from the pages and make me a little anxious to discover the how and when and why of that character’s life. Then I can’t stop turning page after page! I did not find that character here. I look forward to Segals’s next book and finding a "live" character and all that will make me love it.
Elizabeth K. (Glenshaw, PA) (05/12/12)

The Innocents
Reading this introduced me to many Jewish customs and gave me a new knowledge of the special holidays celebrated. The story itself is one told many times; wanting what we can't have.
Marketed as a recasting of Edith Wharton's, The Age of Innocence, it is a pleasant read that would appeal to women of all ages.
Mary H. (Phoenix, AZ) (05/12/12)

It is truly a Family affair.
The story holds some complex issues for adults who have narrowed their life choices. Expectations prove to be the norm for all the characters but one. The renegade cousin Ellie, although accepted due to circumstances beyond her control, is never totally a welcome family member. The participants all seem to teeter just on the brink of "social" failure only to find their way again. Need, want, desire and dreams all appear in this novel. Who arrives at their personal destination can only be determined by each individual but continually judged by all.
Emily G. (Clear Lake, MN) (05/11/12)

An excellent revisioning of a timeless classic
I’ve been eager to read this book since I first heard about it and so was thrilled to receive a pre-publication copy from BookBrowse. Edith Wharton is one of my favorite writers. So, with a little fear about a rewriting and a lot of excitement, I dove into The Innocents.

Could anyone write as wonderfully as Edith? Alas, no, but Segal does an admirable job and, at points, echoes Wharton so strongly it made me smile: “She signed, and the timbre of her sigh could have resonated with anything from exhaustion to despair.” Segal resets Age of Innocence in a modern, Jewish community in London and meshes her changes nearly seamlessly with Age of Innocence’s plot. Even the character names, Adam instead of Newland for example, hit the right note between old and new. I never forgot I was reading a rewriting of Wharton, and was long annoyed at the recasting of Countess Olenska as the younger Ellie, but I was continually surprised at how astutely Segal changed details to make the social commentary of Wharton’s work shed just as much light on modern life. From the older-man sex and money scandal, to the loss of pension funds, each detail worked to create a modern and compelling story.

Generally, I am skeptical of and disappointed in modern rewritings of classics, but The Innocents didn’t disappoint. Segal showed both her power as a writer and the timelessness of Wharton’s observations and assessments. I think Wharton would be pleased; I was.
Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA) (05/08/12)

Worthy Homage to a Classic
I was attracted to this book because of early comparisons to "The Age of Innocence," one of my all-time favorite novels. I figured I'd either love it or hate it. The "jury" is in: Segal has crafted a deft homage to Wharton's Pulitzer classic, transporting the focus from the upper-echelons of late-19th-century NY citizenry to contemporary North West London, the established center of the city's thriving Jewish society. The plot, the characters, the themes are very much the same, but unfold with a freshness and flair that has much to offer today's reader. How much have things really changed in 140 years? A great choice for book clubs--lots to discuss; would make a great tandem read with Wharton's "Age."
Power Reviewer
Lani S. (Narberth, PA) (05/07/12)

good beach read
A light hearted rendition of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence taken from a Jewish family's perspective. Being Jewish myself, I found the cultural proclivities,kinship and value system to be "spot on". For individuals not familiar with Jewish culture, it will be an enlightening and educational opportunity. Using Judaism as a core gives this book more depth to explore the issues of family and lost innocence in this light and easy read.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

More Information


Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.