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LIPSTICK JUNGLE by Candace Bushnell

LIPSTICK JUNGLE

By Candace Bushnell

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7868-6819-8
Publisher: Hyperion

Bushnell has traded in the 30-something singles of Sex and the City (1996) for a claque of desperately scheming 40-something powerhouses.

The three muskateeresses this go-’round are Victoria Ford, independent fashion designer; Wendy Healy, powerful president of Parador Pictures; and Nico O’Neilly, glamorous editor-in-chief of Bonfire magazine. A cool reception by stores and critics to Victoria’s spring collection has put her company in financial jeopardy, a challenge she can handle more competently than the romantic advances by crass billionaire Lyne Bennet, whose hidden charms remain mostly hidden. Wendy, who runs her Hollywood studio from New York for unexplained reasons, is a mother of three whose marriage to sexy Shane, whom she has long supported as a boy-toy-turned-stay-at-home-dad, falls apart the day her latest picture is nominated for six Oscars. Nico is jockeying to take over her parent company while also juggling an adulterous affair with a male model who offers more sizzle than her decent but dull political scientist husband, Seymour. Wendy, Nico and Victoria are supposed to represent a new generation of strong, capable well-rounded women able to have personal and professional success, and there are certainly plenty of references to the brand-name perks and pleasures of their position, but these women are selfish, self-centered and not at all likeable. And their success seems way beyond their actual abilities. At least Victoria is single. Wendy and Nico are so obliviously neglectful of their spoiled-brat children that empathy for them is hard to produce. These women also share a deep streak of unhappiness that Bushnell’s too-easy happy ending does not erase.

If this is having it all, who wants it?