On the heels of her memoir (What Remains, 2005) about the death of her husband, who happened to be Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ nephew, Real Housewives of New York regular Radziwill returns with a glib, comic, probably autobiographical novel about a young Manhattan widow looking for love in all the wrong places.
Thirty-something journalist Claire’s domineering, much older husband, Charlie, a famous author and sexology expert, is walking down Madison Avenue after an adulterous assignation when a fake Giacometti statue falls off a crane and kills him. Although the nine-year marriage lacked passion, Claire finds herself at sea. Not that she’s anyone’s average widow; she lives in a gorgeous apartment and is gorgeous herself. Charlie has left an unfinished manuscript about a movie star named Jack Huxley, and his agent wants Claire to complete it. Her predictably gay friend, Ethan, sends her to a psychic, who warns her she will not find love for a year. Her best friend, Sasha, who is also an alcoholic and as shallow as a leaky wading pool, sends her to a “botanomanist,” who tells Claire pretty much the same thing. Neither of Claire’s two therapists is optimistic, either. After six months of widowhood, Claire is anxious to “get laid,” so she goes on three failed dates, one with a successful journalist, one with a billionaire and, finally, one with a hockey star. She meets and flirts with Jack at the opening of one of his films but gets drunk and ends up sleeping with the co-star (think Bradley Cooper instead of George Clooney, poor girl). Eventually, she and narcissist Jack do connect and begin an affair of sorts; it is magic when they are together, but they are together only when he calls, which is not often. Will she grow out of Jack and into someone better? This may be a grief and recovery story for the privileged, but sharp-fanged Radziwill can be pretty funny as she mocks Claire’s friends and family.
No surprise that negotiations for a television series are already under way; think Sex and the City in black.