Acts of Atonement is the second book in the tale of Serach Gottesman – headstrong eldest daughter of a rigidly Orthodox Jewish family, and Paloma Rodriguez — ambitious child of a viciously unsupportive Latina Catholic mother.
They form a union against all expectations and ten years later — when this second book starts — they are still cozily ensconced together, delighting in New York’s rich diversity, nimbly dodging any pangs of nostalgia or guilt. Until an unexpected death, a seductive offer, and a brush with violence and the criminal court system test their courage, fidelity — and love. Acts of Atonement parlays the challenges of one devoted couple into an exploration of a range of broader issues, including:
- Can women and LGBTQI individuals experience full equality within traditional religions and cultures?
- Can someone raised with strong traditional beliefs ever totally escape their power?
- Is Latino machismo unique, or does Judaism have its own brand?
- What happens when atoning for a betrayal means betraying something else?
- Can we ever be entirely true to our complicated selves?