An Observant Wife

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 28 Sep 2021

Description

In this rich and compassionate novel, An Observant Wife, Naomi Ragen continues the love story between newly observant California-girl Leah and ultra-Orthodox widower Yaakov from An Unorthodox Match.

From the joy of their wedding day surrounded by supportive friends and family, Yaakov and Leah are soon plunged into the complex reality of their new lives together as Yaakov leaves his beloved yeshiva to work in the city, and Leah confronts the often agonizing restrictions imposed by religious laws governing even the most intimate moments of their married lives. Adding to their difficulties is the hostility of some in the community who continue to view Leah as a dangerous interloper, questioning her sincerity and adherence to religious laws and spreading outrageous rumors.

In the midst of their heartfelt attempts to reach a balance between their human needs and their spiritual obligations, the discovery of a secret, forbidden relationship between troubled teenage daughter Shaindele and a local boy precipitates a maelstrom of life-changing consequences for all.

In this rich and compassionate novel, An Observant Wife, Naomi Ragen continues the love story between newly observant California-girl Leah and ultra-Orthodox widower Yaakov from An Unorthodox Match.
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ISBN 9781250260079
PRICE CA$37.99 (CAD)

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Featured Reviews

Absolutely LOVED this story of standing true to your beliefs. This is a timely story that's needed and so relevant to modern-day issues. I enjoyed catching up with Leah and Yaakov, seeing how Shaindel was holding up with her step-mother, and watching how their new lives played out. The story took unexpected turns, and I wasn't sure where everything was going, but in true story-book fashion, {spoiler alert} everyone gets their happily-ever-after.

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I have read all of Naomi Ragen’s books. This one did not disappoint. It was a great follow up book that tied up all the loose ends. Great characters, great storyline, and I felt very satisfied at the end. Thank you for my advanced copy. I will continue to recommend this author to my friends.

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When I received word that I was approved by NetGalley to read An Observant Wife, which is a sequel to An Unorthodox Match, I immediately read that first book (which I loved). I was so excited to read this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is easily a five-star read. It’s the continuing story of newly married Leah and Yaakov. Leah is a returning Jew (from the secular world), and Yaakov is ultra Orthodox. The saga resumes with Leah still trying to gain acceptance into her ‘new’ world and not getting it. Their beautiful love for each other carries them through the many crises that arise in the book. The ending is terrific and allows the possibility of another sequel. Well described are the endless rules, some of them Biblical, some of them manmade, of this Orthodox Jewish faith. Dirty, dirty politics among this sect in Boro Park, Brooklyn are exposed. I wonder to myself, how much of this is fiction and how much is real life. The author is profoundly inspired to add the beauty of Bible quotations to her story. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review An Observant Wife. I enjoyed it immensely and would give it many more than five stars if I could.

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I've always been a big fan of Naomi Ragen and was very excited to read this book. It did not disappoint. An Observant Wife is a sequel to An Unorthodox Match though could conceivably stand on its own. Leah has married Yaakov and is expecting a happily ever after life. However, she has not reckoned on being judged so heavily by others in her Haredi community, who seem to be just waiting for her, a formerly secular Jew, to fail. Ragen delves into some contemporary issues and failings of this community and in some ways it starts to feel like an exposé. The ending is very satisfactory, though, and leaves the reader wondering (and hoping) for yet a third tale about this wonderful family. A few side stories are also charming and show the power and wisdom of some of the older members of the community. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.

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An Observant Wife by Naomi Regan I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I have read the author’s previous book, An Unorthodox Match, loved it and was looking forward to this sequel. I was definitely not disappointed. The book opens with Leah’s and Yakov’s wedding and it deals with their first year of marriage. Yakov is a Torah scholar, a widow with 5 children. Leah is a formerly secular Jew who studied and embraced the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. Any marriage has its ups and downs in the first year, but this couple has to deal with more than usual. Leah is not well accepted into the community, Yakov has to work for the first time in his life to earn a living. Two small children and a questioning rebellious teenage daughter do not make their life very easy. I couldn’t put this book down, I stayed up most of the night to finish more than half of the novel. It is very well written, the characters are well developed. I cheered and cried with Leah and Shaindele. There are very serious issues addressed beyond the marriage of Yakov and Leah. Without giving anything away, I liked the end, it was very realistic. I am Jewish, so I knew many of the Yiddish and Hebrew sayings, but far from all. Reading an e book, it is not easy to go back and forth to the glossary. I think using less of the Yiddish and Hebrew or explanation in parentheses would make this book more welcome to an extended audience. 5 stars for sure, and I do not often rate 5 stars. Thanks NetGalley, Martin Press and Naomi Regan for the advanced copy

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Naomi Ragen knocked it out of the park again. Reading it I could picture the insular Boro Park community and all it’s ins and outs. This book was graciously provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Definitely pick this book up !

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An Observant Wife by Naomi Ragen is an excellent fiction follow up to the equally stunning An Unorthodox Match. Both books are truly wonderful and I highly recommend this duo. I can only hope that there will be another installment in the future. I was beyond impressed with the memorable story of Leah and Yaakov in An Unorthodox Match and so was beyond thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to see what happened with their marriage, blended family, and the community in this next book. Here we get to see in detail the marriage, the immediate emotions, insecurities, feelings, and foreign waters that each member swam into with this new situation. Toss in a few obstacles, twists, turns, surprises (definitely didn’t see some of that coming!), and thankfully positive outcomes, and this narrative really ends up being a home run. I really enjoyed everything about this book, and continue to be a huge fan of Ms. Ragen. I highly recommend this novel and it will most definitely be one of my favorites this year. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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I was so excited when I learned that I would get to read this book early, courtesy of St. Martin's Press and Netgalley, because I have been a long-time fan of Naomi Ragen since reading her book, The Ghost of Hannah Mendes. I've since read several of her books and was excited about this one. This book did not disappoint, giving the reader a peak into a life that many don't know much about. The characters in this book were so likeable, with Leah being a wonderful, protective mother to her new stepchildren. The story is not only one of a woman trying to find acceptance in a world that she is not readily welcomed in but also one of a young mother trying to grapple with the unthinkable happening to her step-daughter. I think readers will appreciate the chance to learn more about a life that some people choose and some others are born into.

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I have always loved Naomi Ragen books. So when offered an ARC by Netgalley I jumped at the chance. Her writing is so compassionate and she makes you feel you are part of the story. This one again covered Orthodoxy and the complexity of living an observant life. We follow Leah and Yakov, their marriage, their children and the choices they make. Some choices lead them to have life changing consequences for their children and themselves. A great page turner and look into Orthodoxy life. #fivestars #netgalley

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I'm usually skeptical of sequels, but Naomi Ragen has given her readers an outstanding follow-up to An Unorthodox Match, the story of California girl Leah who falls for ultra-orthodox Jewish widower Yaakov in New York's Boro Park and ultimately marries him, becoming part of a new highly insular way of life. While I wondered at the outset how this novel could keep me engaged with the age old story of an outsider trying to build a life within a culture that was new to her, all for the sake of love, this story did just that - keeping me turning pages as the stories behind the Boro Park women and men peeled back in shrouded layers of toxic behavior of self-preservation, judgement and scandal. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say this is a worthy follow-up with twists and turns and an ending readers will love. Thanks to Net Galley and St Martin's Press for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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My head is still reeling after reading for 2 days straight. I am fascinated by the Orthodox Jewish community and An Observant Wife is by far one of the best novel I have ever read on this subject. The characters were well developed, relationships beautifully described and setting was very believable. My only regret is that I was unaware of the first book but this book stands on its own. I highly recommend.

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Brilliantly written with a powerful message, this is a continuation from Naomi Ragen's previous book, "An Unorthodox Match." A wedding sets the stage in Boro Park, a borough of Brooklyn, between Leah (formerly known as Lola) and Yaakov. His wife Zissele died two years from that time and Leah was now accepted in the ultra Orthodox Jewish community. Yet she knew she would always be known as an outsider. She was instantly the stepmother of five children: two older boys now in college, a 17-year-old teenage daughter, Shaindele, a toddler, Chasya and little Modechal Shalom. It was Leah's happiest day as she loved them all from a job she previously had as their babysitter. However, soon after becoming a wife and mother, Leah noticed how she felt distant in the community with strict religious rules and laws to follow. She couldn't wear socks and athletic shoes, couldn't attend movies, plays or go ice skating and swimming at Coney Island, She also had rules to follow with her husband. She quickly learned there was no such thing as a private life in the haredi world and "what will the neighbor's think?" It was a harsh lesson when some onlookers one day saw her dancing with the two little ones to loud music. Yaakov was worried that it may have been too much of a change from her former life in California with a great job and lots of money to buy whatever she wanted. When she moved to NY, she made a radical change with her religious views. Now, however, she questioned her new life. They were living on the edge with bills. Her teenage daughter was sneaking out at night and she didn't have a lot of friends. Could their love be strong enough to keep them together? The reader instantly feels immersed in this community that is dark and dusty with very few trees - where everyone is making judgements. It's like going to a foreign country with its own language and dress. Yet, it's within New York City. The story weaves in and out of what it's like to walk in their shoes and feel accepted. The book is highly recommended. While it may be helpful to read her previous book, it could also be enjoyed as a standalone. The best way to understand the story is to have the glossary of Jewish words and phrases found at the end within easy reach. My thanks to Naomi Ragen, St. Martin's Publishing Group and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book to be released on September 14, 2021.

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