She makes it there, but Harayda’s (The Accidental Bride, 1999) second novel advances very slowly.
Laura Smart leaves feckless Nordic hunk Nick and humdrum Cleveland life behind for a job in Manhattan, writing for a talk-show host’s glitzy eponymous mag, Cassandra. At the airport, Laura’s fare to NYC is paid by a mysterious “Psycho Fan,” who turns out to be Tim Moran, mucky-muck of Carapace, the mega-media conglomerate and parent of Cassandra. The only apartment she can find features a hole in the floor, ongoing feng-shui litigation, and a super more at home in a survivalist encampment than on the Upper East Side. Dodging a gorgon publicist to get an interview with a semi-washed-up Britney Spears clone, Laura scores a cover story on her first assignment. Besides height (she’s a former high-school basketball star), her looks are a tabula rasa that only a makeover with freebie cosmetics and dresses designed by someone named Egotista can embellish. Laura’s red-herring crush on her boss Simon takes forever to yield to an approach-avoidance gavotte with Tim that strains credulity. Meantime, diatribes against draconian accounting departments and office politics do nothing to distinguish this tale from the pack of glam-mag romans à clef, while opportunities simply land in Laura’s lap, including a more lucrative offer from Cassandra’s rival, Aurora, and a book-ghosting deal.
A disappointment, right down to its utterly foregone conclusion.