A young woman gets the break of a lifetime at a popular magazine—now if only everything else (money, apartment, love life, entire professional future) would fall into place.
A sort of modern-day Mary Tyler Moore, Dawn West is trying to make it as a writer. Though countless novels have offered the same conceit—lives in New York, works in media, searches for Mr. Right—Shumway’s Dawn is a young woman of substance, and her trials are of more consequence than the search for the perfect Little Black Dress. After Harvard, Dawn moves to New York, but along the way loses her college boyfriend Robert and finds herself barely solvent. Robert, they’re “still friends,” invites Dawn to his family’s annual summer fete in the Hamptons, but joining them will be his new girlfriend Lily. At once, Dawn sees Lily is everything she isn’t: rich and cultured in an effortless way and most importantly, unfazed by Robert and his privileged imperiousness. At the party, Dawn meets Regina, the editor of Charm magazine, and this meeting lands her a job putting together a spread for Charm’s 50th anniversary of their "Ten Girls to Watch" contest (Charm is an indistinguishable stand-in for Glamour, where Shumway worked on their corresponding 50th anniversary piece for the “Top Ten College Women” contest). While in her new office (the storage closet) at the archives, Dawn meets Elliot, secret author of the magazine’s bachelor column. Sparks fly and they begin to form the kind of relationship that seems too good to be true. And then he doesn’t call and sends a fruit basket for Christmas. Meanwhile, Dawn is tracking down 50 years’ worth of remarkable women, some quite famous, whose stories fill the novel and offer inspiration when things get tough—her roommate disappears, her building burns down, Elliot is not what he seems, and Robert has ended their friendship. Never fear, our Dawn finds help in unsuspecting places.
A winning debut featuring the kind of witty, appealing good girl that captures readers' hearts.