Berkowitz, a contributor to Vogue, Playboy, and Glamour, debuts with this particularly busy and crowded story of baby- boom-era female friends seeking to find themselves in men and work. Erica Valenta, the daughter of a pair of hard-working but limited Czech immigrants, gets herself out of Brooklyn by earning a scholarship to Radcliffe. There, alas, she lands in emotional hot water when she drops out to marry a handsome Boston Brahmin, who secretly sees her as his ``gutter girl.'' But her meeting with Melissa John, a model at Goldsmith's Bridal Salon in New York, proves fortuitous, since the two of them strike up a lifelong friendship. While Erica is consumed by work (rising to a top position in an international chemicals firm), gorgeous Melissa heads off to L.A. on a quest of her own--this one for fame and fortune as a movie star--which will entail deluding herself about men and her own desire to feel needed. Meanwhile, another one of their pals is ethereal little Earline Prewitt from Arkansas, who follows her boyfriend to New York only to have him force her into prostitution; ironically, she winds up as Goldsmith's most virginal-looking bridal-gown model. Of course, there's a happy ending in store for one and all: a Belgian diplomat who's head over heels in love with Earline; a freewheeling entrepreneur from California for Erica; and a Down's syndrome baby for Melissa, which she's able to love, accept, and feel fulfilled by. Clearly, there are no new twists on the pot-of-gold-at-the- end-of-the-rainbow formula here, but Berkowitz creates several credible female characters whose searches for self-satisfaction will ring some familiar bells--and keep readers bending back the novel's covers.