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An Unorthodox Match
Cover of An Unorthodox Match
An Unorthodox Match
A Novel
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California girl Lola has her life all set up: business degree, handsome fiancé, fast track career, when suddenly, without warning, everything tragically implodes. After years fruitlessly searching for love, marriage, and children, she decides to take the radical step of seeking spirituality and meaning far outside the parameters of modern life in the insular, ultraorthodox enclave of Boro Park, Brooklyn. There, fate brings her to the dysfunctional home of newly-widowed Jacob, a devout Torah scholar, whose life is also in turmoil, and whose small children are aching for the kindness of a womanly touch.

While her mother direly predicts she is ruining her life, enslaving herself to a community that is a misogynistic religious cult, Lola's heart tells her something far more complicated. But it is the shocking and unexpected messages of her new community itself which will finally force her into a deeper understanding of the real choices she now faces and which will ultimately decide her fate.

An Unorthodox March is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from Naomi Ragen, the international bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.

California girl Lola has her life all set up: business degree, handsome fiancé, fast track career, when suddenly, without warning, everything tragically implodes. After years fruitlessly searching for love, marriage, and children, she decides to take the radical step of seeking spirituality and meaning far outside the parameters of modern life in the insular, ultraorthodox enclave of Boro Park, Brooklyn. There, fate brings her to the dysfunctional home of newly-widowed Jacob, a devout Torah scholar, whose life is also in turmoil, and whose small children are aching for the kindness of a womanly touch.

While her mother direly predicts she is ruining her life, enslaving herself to a community that is a misogynistic religious cult, Lola's heart tells her something far more complicated. But it is the shocking and unexpected messages of her new community itself which will finally force her into a deeper understanding of the real choices she now faces and which will ultimately decide her fate.

An Unorthodox March is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from Naomi Ragen, the international bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.

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About the Author-
  • NAOMI RAGEN's novels include The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, The Covenant, The Sisters Weiss, and The Devil in Jerusalem, and have been international bestsellers. Her weekly email columns on life in the Middle East are read by thousands of subscribers worldwide. An American, she has lived in Jerusalem for the past forty years and was voted one of the three most popular authors in Israel.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2019

    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.]--Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2019
    In her latest novel, Ragen (The Devil in Jerusalem, 2015, etc.) asks why a secular Jewish woman might join an Orthodox community and whether it would be possible for her to find not only acceptance, but family. The daughter of a godless single mother who ran away from her own Orthodox Jewish upbringing as a teenager, Leah (born Lola) has been searching for religious meaning most of her life. After two serious romances end disastrously, she becomes a baalas teshuva ("possessor of repentance") in the Orthodox neighborhood of Boro Park, Brooklyn. Her goal is to learn the customs and philosophies of her ancestors but also to find a good man and start a family--like the one of recent widower Yaakov Lehman, whose children she begins caring for. She doesn't know the prejudice she's up against. Yaakov is struggling as well. It would be frowned upon for him to leave his full-time Talmudic studies to make money, even if he had the skills to do so. Other skills he does not possess, by design, are housekeeping and child-rearing; both have fallen to his 15-year-old daughter, Shaindele. Will Yaakov and Leah find happiness? Of course. But first there must be hurdles. These come in the form of many terrible dates (for each of them) with outsized, terrible characters, courtesy of the local matchmakers. Shaindele, hurting and overburdened, throws some roadblocks at them, aided in part by Yaakov's mother-in-law, who acts as a window into the community and the threat it feels from outsiders. Additional chapters go into too much detail about Leah's overstuffed, overcomplicated backstory (while still leaving out entire referred-to chunks, like time spent living in Israel) but serve the purpose of delaying the inevitable until the admittedly sweet ending. The Sound of Music meets Fiddler on the Roof, but without the singing.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Jewish Book Council

    "Read­ing Nao­mi Ragen is like hav­ing a warm vis­it with an old friend, com­plete with tea and rugelach....In An Unortho­dox Match, as the title implies, a lit­tle rebel­lion goes a long way, and Ragen deft­ly guides us through these moral quan­daries. Whether love or the law pre­vails, her nov­el and its con­clu­sion is a wor­thy study in the rich­ness and vari­ety of our endur­ing people."

  • San Diego Jewish World

    "A splendid book."
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    St. Martin's Publishing Group
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