Unorthodox Love

Dreamscape Media. Jul. 2023. 13:14 hrs. ISBN 9781666641578. $17.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Penina, a 29-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman, desperately longs for love and marriage, but a medical condition has rendered her infertile. Because of this, she has been matched with less-than-desirable men, from those with questionable pasts to those with mommy issues. With these prospects, Penina fears she will be a perpetual virgin. Then, Penina’s sister Libby reveals their family’s desperate financial straits, and Penina decides to help by marrying a wealthy, secretly gay Jewish man in exchange for money. Though this is not the happily-ever-after she dreamed of, she is content until she meets her new sexy—and secular—boss, Sam. Shertok (And Along Came Layla) provides a sensitively drawn picture of the Orthodox community, especially regarding romance, sex, and relationships. Narrator Caitlin Thorburn offers a variety of accents and character voices. Even so, her depiction of Penina makes her seem offputtingly immature, and her male characters are difficult to distinguish. Additionally, her nonstandard pronunciations of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other languages can be distracting.
VERDICT Shertok’s observations on faith and the Orthodox Jewish community are appealing, but the mediocre audio production makes this an optional purchase.
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