Ah, the guilty pleasure of the romance novel: bodice-ripping, smoldering glances, passionate sex . . . and Shabbos dinner.
Yep, you read that right: a new genre of romance novel – the Orthodox love story – has arrived, to the delight and curiosity of Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. Yael Levy’s Brooklyn Love has all the hallmarks of a Harlequin, but with a frum, modest bent. The story follows 3 Orthodox girls who fall for the wrong guys, defying parental and communal expectations: For Rachel, a hip artist, it’s love at first sight with a poor rabbinical student; Hindy fancies herself a Talmud scholar’s wife, but her heart is set on a coworker; and Leah wants to be a doctor even though her mom worries it will diminish her shidduch potential.
This is Girls for the shomer negiah, Beis Ya’akov set: Levy says that her “biggest hope” is that a rabbi will ban her book, so that “girls will sneak out and buy it.” Let’s hope so! Because as fun as Brooklyn Love is, the sexy parts may be – for the genre, anyway – too subtle to thrill a teenage rebel.