Penina is twenty-nine and still unmarried, which is practically unheard of in her deeply religious Orthodox Jewish community. She longs for love, marriage, and children, but she’s been told since she was young that she can’t have children due to a medical issue. Love and marriage seem to be slipping further and further away. While a matchmaker has set her up with pretty much every eligible (and barely eligible) Orthodox bachelor in the community, Penina has all but resigned herself to solitude.
However solo she may appear, Penina does have a rich life filled with love and family. This includes her older sister Libby, who has followed the “traditional” Orthodox life for women: marry, have a bunch of children, and raise them within the community. But Libby is also facing financial troubles. She could potentially lose her house due to her husband’s somewhat shady business dealings. Penina adores her younger sister Fraydie, who prefers to dress like a goth, heavy on black and even heavier on mischief. Her mother and father want her to find someone that can make her happy, but they’re increasingly worried as she ages without any real prospects. Penina takes on everyone’s concerns and makes them her own.
When her new boss, the exceedingly handsome, devastatingly rich, and Jewish (but not Orthodox) Sam Kleinfeld, begins running the jewelry store where Penina works, she feels something she’s never felt on her many bad dates. As she spends more time with Sam, Penina is ambushed by a surprise proposal — from Zevi, a gay Orthodox Jewish man who is desperate to win his dying mother’s approval. It’s not quite the romance Penina was hoping for, and certainly no match for the feelings she’s been developing for Sam. That proposal, however, comes with a hefty reward: Zevi is willing to pay Penina for this marriage ruse, enough for her to save her house and provide for her family. Will Penina ever get to marry? And if she does, will she get to marry for love, or will she be tempted to solve her family’s problems and tie the knot for money?
Unorthodox Love is a sweet and unapologetically Jewish romance that centers one woman’s desire to marry and raise a family within the Orthodox community. With beautiful descriptions of holidays, rituals, and family gatherings, Unorthodox Love gives a modern glimpse into centuries-old traditions. It is a perfect novel for anyone looking for a relatable romance with a happily ever after.