The second novel in Steward’s (A Very Good Life, 2014) series about Dana McGarry, now a thriving 30-year-old woman working in the fashion industry in 1975 New York City.
Dana was recently promoted to junior accessories buyer at the high-end Manhattan department store B. Altman, so she should be feeling on top of the world. However, she also recently split up with her husband, Brett, after discovering that he was having an affair, and she’s at odds with a work supervisor, Helen Kavanagh, who’s trying to stifle her creativity at the store. Things start to turn around for Dana, though, when she begins a whirlwind romance with Mark Senger, a thriving businessman 12 years her senior. He encourages Dana to step outside her comfort zone by learning to ride horses and by proposing her own idea for a stand-alone boutique inside the department store. However, just when things are looking up, she discovers that her new lover may be lying to her, and that Helen will stop at nothing to ensure that the boutique doesn’t come to fruition. Dana must learn to navigate the complexities of her professional and romantic relationships in order to live her best life, and she learns multiple tough but fundamental lessons along the way. Steward’s novel is an entertaining look at the glitzy world of Manhattan fashion in the 1970s, and it also depicts an intriguing time for women in the workplace as the American feminist movement took hold. Steward does a good job of depicting a wide variety of believable, relatable relationships, including a new couple happily in love and two people having an extramarital affair. Despite its strengths, however, the book has some religious overtones that feel out of place, including Dana’s regular correspondence with a priest and multiple mentions about trusting in God (“She knew that God would see her through the painful days ahead”), which seem incongruous with the depiction of the flashy New York City fashion world.
An often engaging story about a young female professional making her way in the world, and an interesting examination of love and what can happen to it.