Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

tudor queens series
Search our site
Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Read the opening extract of the brand new Lucy Foley book before its publication on 19/03/2018

Reader Reviewed
Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller

Jacob's Folly

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

June 2013 Book of the Month.

From the author of the Richard and Judy bestseller, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, comes a brilliantly original novel about love, family and human folly. Through her wonderfully memorable protagonist, Rebecca Miller considers the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, and the collision of fate and free will.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Jacob's Folly a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'What an incredible book!...Rebecca Miller has written an unusual and entertaining story that I just had to keep reading to the end.' - Carolyn Huckfield. Scroll down to read more reviews.


Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller

In eighteenth-century Paris, Jacob is a peddler of knives, salt cellars and snuffboxes. Despite a disastrous teenage marriage, Jacob is determined to raise himself up in life, by whatever means he can. In twenty-first-century America, Jacob's life has twisted in ways he could never have imagined. But even the tiniest of flies can influence the turning of the world. Reliable, true Leslie Senzatimore, a volunteer fireman, and Masha, a gravely ill young woman, are about to have their lives transformed.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Jacob's Folly. You can read their reviews below.

Carolyn Huckfield - What an incredible book! ...Rebecca Miller has written an unusual and entertaining story that I just had to keep reading to the end.' Click here to read the full review.

Catherine Larner - 'It's a fascinating, puzzling, amusing and, at times, unsettling novel which can be enjoyed on many different levels and, while the exquisite writing should be savoured, the intriguing plot lures the reader on.' Click here to read the full review.

Nailah Afghan - 'What a splendid, unique and utterly original story! It made me laugh out loud and kept me turning the pages...A tale which is complex without being complicated. Brilliant, highly recommended.' Click here to read the full review.

Megan Olwen Williams - 'Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller is a unique and truly original story. Never have I read a novel that encompasses so many different worlds and lives, and manage to paint such a gloriously colourful riveting picture with them.' Click here to read the full review.

Ruth Paterson - 'Jacob’s Folly is a truly good read...The novel is full of vivid descriptions and characterisations that made me understand Jacob and feel fully immersed in the stories... I thoroughly enjoyed this book.' Click here to read the full review.

William Alexander - 'Jacob’s Folly is an enticing, original read. Rebecca Miller manages to engage the reader by slowly dripping anticipation and unanswered questions as the narrative unfolds.' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'Jacob's Folly is an ambitious literary novel that hits the mark...She has an impressive capacity to build a compelling backstory for her characters so that you really know them and understand why they get into the mess that they do.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Thornton - 'I found this novel quite challenging, funny and a unique read...What an amazing book which gives a very interesting and enlightening look at the Jewish way of life.' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'From Paris to New York, this delightful book will have you spellbound...A most enjoyable tale with vibrant colourful characters.' Click here to read the full review.

Maureen Evans - An intriguing tale that moves the reader back and forth between sympathetic protagonist Jacob’s experiences as a Jewish peddler in eighteenth century Paris and those in his very different reincarnation in twenty first century America...An absorbing read that kept me enthralled until the end.' Click here to read the full review.

Lynn Curtis - 'A highly imaginative, occasionally unsettling maverick of a book told from the point of view of Jacob Cerf, an eighteenth-century pedlar turned actor, reincarnated in the twenty-first century as an inquisitive, all-seeing house fly!' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'This is an entertaining book, with some vivid images, particularly in Jacob’s wry narration of his colourful experiences in France and his later incarnation...Thought-provoking.' Click here to read the full review.

'Jacob's Folly is an extraordinary book. Miller's writing is vigorous, powerful and riveting. I was constantly surprised by the flights and dips of narrative, and its complexity, while from start to finish her wit and the clear, true characters kept the book grounded. A magnificent achievement' -- Sadie Jones, Author Of The Outcast

'In Jacob's Folly, Rebecca Miller has landed on a narrative voice that's antique, droll, racy and occasionally cutting...a delicately balanced triple narrative that jumps across centuries... this is an imaginative leap in new direction, yolking historical fiction to a contemporary drama' Los Angeles Times

'Miller is a brilliantly observant writer with a sharp eye ... In her hands, every emotion and state of mind are fully imagined and accurately realised' Daily Mail on THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE

'Like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections without the bitterness, mixed with Jeffrey Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides without the eccentricity, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing read Sunday' Telegraph on THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE

'Rebecca Miller is a luminous writer' Observer

'There is on every page a glint of verbal beauty like a jewel, and Miller's characters are so keenly observed as to be almost painful to read about. The novel's wit and glamour make it one of the best debuts of the year so far' Literary Review on THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE

'Marvelous, deep and rich, sexy, transgressive, terrifying and tough, and very, very funny-a great ingathering as multifaceted as a gem, or the eye of a fly!' -- Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Of Angels In America

'Miller's prose is tight and compelling; it moves in its own fast rhythm, richly packed with images that slice open the text ... revealing the dark waters beneath' The Times

'An easy read of quality is exactly how Miller's poignant, funny and wise novel could be described' Financial Times on THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE

'Narratively speaking it's a remarkable feat how the author/filmaker [Rebecca Miller] agilely threads together three distinct narratives... Jacob's Folly is a rare book from a rare breed of artist' Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Miller worked as a painter and actress before becoming a writer and director. She is the author of the short story collection Personal Velocity, her feature film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and also directed The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which starred her husband Daniel Day-Lewis, and Angela. She lives in Ireland and New York with her family.

Author photo © Gene Page

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

6th June 2013


Rebecca Miller

More books by Rebecca Miller
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...


Canongate Books Ltd




Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites



For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth

It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

A well laid out site, I love the fact that is separates paranormal fiction from fantasy and horror, which other sites don't.

Jen Rainbow

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham