Praise for The Innocents

It’s a stroke of brilliance on Segal’s part to demonstrate the striking similarities between the polished social manners of waspish 19th-century New York and 21st-century Hampstead Garden Suburb. The Innocents is compelling and Segal writes with an understated elegance

The Observer

‘A stylish delight, at once an homage to Edith Wharton and a love story, set in a Jewish community in north London.’ The Sunday Telegraph

‘Delightful… Segal’s writing is wise, witty and observant

The Times

‘With understated wit, empathy and a cinematic eye for detail, Segal brings alive a host of characters so robust that you can easily imagine them onscreen. For Ellie, think Keira Knightley at her most leggy and sardonic.’ People Magazine

‘Inspired by The Age of Innocence, Segal’s book is warmer, funnier, and paints a more dynamic and human portrait of a functional community that is a wonderful juxtaposition to Wharton’s cold social strata.’ Publishers Weekly, starred review

Witty and touching. It is a brave writer who risks comparisons with Wharton’s masterpiece, but Segal carries them off, astutely noting the parallels between the hermetically sealed worlds of Wharton’s Fifth Avenue socialites and her own Hampstead Garden Suburb Jews. An assured and audacious debut Daily Mail

A wonderful and witty recreation of one of literature’s most heart-breaking love affairs… an astonishingly accomplished debut which, with its witty and intelligent depiction of the life of modern Britain, will draw comparisons between Segal and Zadie Smith and Monica Ali’


‘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 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 [Segal] 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

‘[A] classily composed comedy of mannersThe Independent

‘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, author of Love Falls and Lucky Break

‘Francesca Segal's lustrous debut may have begun as a seed shaken from Edith Wharton's masterpiece, The Age of Innocence, but only a few pages will show how completely Segal has made The Innocents her own. The setting -a vibrant if enclosed London Jewish community- is beautifully counterbalanced by Segal's

wry and compassionate voice. It is impossible to resist this novel's wit, grace, and charm.’ 

-Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton

‘A stylish, witty, wonderfully moreish take on an ancient people and an even more ancient subject: love and its confusions.’

- A.D. Miller, author of Snowdrops

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, author of Jerusalem: the Biography

‘In Francesca Segal's capable hands, The Age of Innocence is transformed into a very contemporary novel of religious traditions, financial misdeeds, and the way family happiness sustains and strangles. Writing with warmth, humor, and control, Segal brings to life an impressively large cast of characters, and makes The Innocents a generous, memorable first novel that I found hard to put down.’
-Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection and Insignificant Others

‘The Innocents is 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.’

-André Aciman, author of the award-winning Out of Egypt, Call Me by Your Name, and most recently Alibis

‘I was captivated by this alluring novel. The Innocents is a deliciously subtle and contemporary take on the perennial conflict between duty and desire. Francesca Segal writes with dazzling psychological precision, conjuring up characters who are complex, engaging and utterly real, and exploring the dilemmas they face with a delicate wisdom.’
-Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife

‘Francesca Segal does an amazing job of not only getting inside her main character's head but of getting inside the reader's head. She expertly taps into all the yearning, fear, hope, and intensity of anyone who remembers coming to terms with all the demands and possibilities of adult life. Her lovely prose is instantly memorizable, and her characters continued to persistently wedge themselves into my days and nights long after I turned the last page.  A beautiful, bittersweet novel.’

-Gin Phillips, author of Come in and Cover Me

Funny, romantic, gently satiric and sharply observed, The Innocents is an irresistible novel of manners for the 21st century and heralds the arrival of a major new literary talent.

A dazzling contemporary recasting of Edith Wharton’s classic novel The Age of Innocence, Segal’s debut portrays modern-day Jewish life with both wit and empathy, guiding us effortlessly through a contemporary cultural milieu whose social rules, both spoken and unspoken, are just as claustrophobic as those of 19th-century New York.

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