Wry, romantic and a little sad, Horowitz’s first novel is the story of a crumbling family of Boston Brahmins.
Jane Fortune can’t help but feel like a spinster—at 38, she has yet to move out of her family’s home. With father Teddy, a snobbish glamour boy, and elegant older sister Miranda, who is known for her parties, the three live a life of useless splendor in a Louisburg Square brownstone. While Teddy and Miranda shop and gossip and assume that the society page still matters, practical, predictable Jane runs the Fortune Family Foundation, a charitable trust with literary leanings. Jane’s baby is the Euphemia Review, a journal she started 15 years ago, devoted to nurturing new talent. Now it’s an icon and its yearly grant-giving a prestigious name-maker. The Fortunes’ lives seem fixed, until they discover that they’re nearly broke. As a last-ditch effort to rebuild capital, the family rents out the brownstone—and for once in her life Jane is alone and free. Teddy and Miranda decide to winter in Palm Beach while Jane stays and confronts the biggest mistake of her life, letting go of one-time love Max Wellman, now a famous author, nicknamed the “literary lothario” when Jane awarded him the Review’s first writer’s grant. Cautious Jane broke Max’s heart, but now he’s again crossing her path. Staying with younger sister Winnie for the holidays, Jane finds that Max is an old friend of Winnie’s husband Charlie. Of course, Jane is still in love with Max (she even has a service send her all his press clippings), but Max seems more interested in Charlie’s nubile little sister than frumpy Jane. Or does he? Traipsing around Boston, Vermont and Martha’s Vineyard, Jane is being hotly pursued by the well-bred Guy Callow, while hoping against hope that Max will give her a second chance.
Horowitz has finely captured the bored silliness of WASP high society, creating a stylish portrait of an endangered species.