Olive Days

A Novel

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9781640096530 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 320 pages Buy it Now

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9781640096547 | Ebook | 320 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

A smoldering novel about an exhausted young mother in an Orthodox Jewish community of Los Angeles whose quest for authenticity erupts in a passionate affair following a night of wife swapping

Rina Kirsch is an exhausted young mother and Modern Orthodox Jew in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. Dutifully keeping to the formidable expectations of a traditional household connects Rina with generations past and those to come. But a contradiction burns at her center: Rina is an atheist. She is also stymied in her life and marriage.

Hoping to reinvigorate their relationship, Rina’s husband convinces her to partake in a night of wife swapping with other Orthodox couples. Rather than preserve her marriage, however, the swap plunges Rina down a heady path that begins with a rekindled passion for painting and culminates in an intoxicating affair with Will, her married Mexican American art teacher. Clandestine rendezvous and stolen moments of ardor awaken Rina to an existence beyond the confining parameters of tradition, offering a glimpse at the possible life she left behind in the olive groves of her youth. As the blush of erotic thrill comes into sharp contrast with the complications of living a secret life, Rina must decide if it’s worth sacrificing everything she’s ever known to fully inhabit the uncharted landscape unfolding before her, one where her needs take precedence.

Told in the fevered tenor common to both lust and religious devotion, Olive Days is an unforgettable story of the agonizing choices women make to balance duty against desire.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

"Olive Days is a lush and intoxicating Los Angeles daydream. Emerson is the real deal—a stylist whose every sentence captures how it feels to be alive, to be in love, to live in the aching distance between who you want to be and who you are." —Ruth Madievsky, author of All-Night Pharmacy

"This is a stunning achievement from a fiercely talented debut novelist. Jessica’s voice is fresh, daring, and surprising. Olive Days is a book you cannot put down, and a story that will continue to grip you, long after you’ve finished reading." —Rabbi Sharon Brous