An Unorthodox Match

St. Martin’s. Sept. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781250161222. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250161246. F
After a professional crisis, Lola is drawn to the Jewish religion, finally joining an Orthodox community in Brooklyn. At 34, she feels like she’s taking the right path in life, changing her name to Leah, and focusing on finding a husband and raising a family. While most members of her new, close-knit community are supportive, Leah finds it difficult to navigate long-standing social structures. Yaakov, a struggling widower with five children, resists the matchmakers for more than a year but is finally ready to admit his family needs a wife and mother. Will Yaakov and Leah be surprised by an honest spark and find happiness? Or will their unexpected connection be quashed by opposition? Ragen (The Devil in Jerusalem) packs this novel with complex characters, many given backstories that increase the understanding of current choices. The author provides a depth of details about daily life and philosophy behind Orthodox traditions as a natural extension of the story but also allows readers a glimpse into a world most would never experience.
VERDICT Fans of character-driven novels or book clubs ready for thoughtful discussion of any number of topics, including community vs. individual needs, should check out this title. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

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