Three young women on their own in 1950s New York run into man trouble galore.
Celebrity interviewer Callahan spins an old-fashioned tale of romance and drama in this debut novel set in the Barbizon Hotel for Women, inspired by an article the author wrote for Vanity Fair. After a brief prologue in December 1955, in which an unnamed character is up on a roof about to jump, the story skips back to June of that year, when Connecticut debutante Laura Dixon arrives in New York for the summer to work on the Mademoiselle college issue. Her roommate, Dolly Hickey from Utica, is the classic sidekick—short, chubby, voluble and studying to be a secretary at Katie Gibbs. Their trio of friends is rounded out by an aspiring singer from England, the wisecracking, flame-haired Vivian Windsor, currently putting in time as a cigarette girl at the Stork Club. Despite the Barbizon’s strict rules about male visitors, romantic complications for all three ensue forthwith. Laura is wooed by New York’s most eligible bachelor, department store heir Box Barnes—but she's also falling for a brainy Greenwich Village bartender. Vivian is involved with a rough character named Nicola Accardi, whose “skin was a tawny olive, topped by a fulsome mane of black hair that normally curved back from his forehead....There was something impossibly feral that enveloped him like a fog.” Dolly is offered less exciting options but pursues them with great energy and focus. Who gets the dreamboat? Who gets the dud? And most pressing, who was that on top of the building?
If you’re in close communion with your inner teenage girl, this one’s for you.