A saucy and ultimately heartwarming tale set in the cutthroat world of high-stakes modeling.

CATWALK FAIL

A debut novel presents an insider’s view of the professional modeling circuit.

Godfrey’s tale stars male model Colin Bryce Hamilton, who has been in the business five years when he suffers a comedic injury to the only part of his anatomy he’s never shown on a runway. Suddenly he’s dropped by his agency and shaken to his core, flashing back to his earliest days working the Milan fashion shows without knowing what he was doing. “A typical day had me casting with Dolce & Gabbana, cat-walking for Armani and posing for Fendi,” he recalls. “After a month of watching sunglasses-wearing clients flip through my book like it was the Yellow Pages, I didn’t get a single job.” As Colin’s life quickly and systematically falls apart (his conniving friends begin to get the modeling jobs he covets; his love life hits the doldrums; etc.), things are made worse by his sister Jasmine’s announcement that she intends to enter the same modeling world that has recently chewed him up and spat him out. Godfrey portrays Colin as affable, funny, and believably callow (“How many glasses of wine does it take to turn a six-foot Russian girl into a destructive whirlwind of lust?” he muses at one point. “No more than four. I counted”), which makes the experience of seeing him put in a crucible oddly intriguing. The narrative is steeped in the narcissistic realities of the modeling world, but those truths are delivered, usually by Colin directly, in the form of sardonic zingers: “There are few problems in modelling that can’t be solved by a body fat percentage below five.” Yet the characters, from rival models to groupies to shady event coordinators, are textured with authenticity. The twin drives of Colin’s own story—to get his life back on track and to protect his sister from ruining hers—are all the more winning for the hero’s feet of clay.

A saucy and ultimately heartwarming tale set in the cutthroat world of high-stakes modeling.

Pub Date: May 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-974192-57-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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