A New York City socialite tries to impress her friends by making over a spin instructor into a weight-loss and mind-body-connection guru.
In Littlefield (The Guilty One, 2015, etc.) and first-time author Gershell’s debut novel as a pair, Julia Summers loves her husband, James, and her two children, Henry and Paige. But, to be honest, Julia really loves herself most of all. She's a vapid, vain, Upper East Side stay-at-home mom, and everything she does is carefully calculated to impress the fellow moms, her so-called friends, at her kids’ private school. But she has become complacent, and her influence as a trendsetter has weakened. When a long-unnoticed leak ruins the Summers’ vacation home in the Hamptons and Julia is forced—forced—to spend the summer in the city with her children while her husband works around the clock and her friends relax in their own country homes, she does the only thing she can think of: foists the kids off on summer camp, the nanny, and a backup babysitter so she can focus on losing weight and regaining her social cachet. She makes it her summer project to re-create Tatum, a bubbly instructor at Flame, a boutique gym that has not yet become popular with the rich-mom crowd. "That was my catnip," Julia says. "I was an urban bloodhound trawling for treasures that went unnoticed by others, and I was famous for my finds." But Tatum is not so easily controlled. She dates who she wants, she makes friends with whom she wants, and she makes the same bad decisions that 20-somethings everywhere have made and will continue make. The novel focuses solely on Julia’s story, told in the first person, and the other characters and events appear flattened and one-dimensional through the prism of her opinions.
There are no heroines in this tale: It's a predictable, slow-moving train wreck you can't look away from.