The Innocent American: Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro

A moving and haunting novel, Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro, is based on the Henry James-ish theme of an innocent American in England. Eighteen year old Evie, an acting student, arrives in London anxious to experience all that England can offer her. Young and ambitious, she shares a house with fellow acting student, Robbie, who introduces her to seedy nightclubs and the wild nightlife of 1980's London. Robbie has problems and wants Evie to fulfill her own ambition - to go to Juliard, the prestigious New York acting school.

When the novel begins, Evie is in her thirties. She is now a single mother and teaches at night school. Her ambitions are unrealized and she feels very alone although she feels an attraction to the European Pietr. Disillusioned and unhappy, she finds herself visited by the ghost of her old friend, Robbie, who wants to know why she hasn't achieved her ambitions. Robbie's nagging questions make Evie ask herself some hard questions.

The flashbacks to Evie's young life, her friendship with Robbie, and her love affair with 'bad boy' Jake, together with the story of her life now, introduce much tension into this well-written novel.

The love story cuts to the heart of what it feels like to have that first 'grand passion' . The friendship with Robbie shows the importance of true friendship. Most of all, however, this novel is about the importance of attempting to achieve one's ambitions and self[realization.

I also enjoyed Tessaro's first novel, Elegance, but I found this novel more poignant. You can listen to Kathleen Tessaro talk about this novel here: Meet Kathleen Tessaro Bravo, Ms Tessaro!


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