Wednesday, August 3, 2011
India, Abby, Esme, and Monique have all been friends since their days at Manhattan's Sibley School for Girls. From the outside, these four women—all grown up now—seem to be living ideal lives, yet each finds herself suddenly craving more.
India Chumley is a whip-smart divorce lawyer who routinely declines the marriage proposals of her charming French boyfriend, Julien. She's taking the first plunge by moving in with him, but she's keeping her own apartment—and keeping it a secret from him.
Abby Rosenfeld Adams is an irrepressibly upbeat gallery owner who married her WASP college sweet heart, a passionate but tormented sculptor. When she suspects he is cheating on her, she realizes that perhaps there's more to life than reassuring her husband of his artistic brilliance.
Esme Sarmiento Talbot is a Colombian Scarlett O'Hara, bored with her proper Connecticut life and her tame, all-American husband. In order to satisfy her sensuality, she escapes to Manhattan and distracts herself with casual encounters.
A card-carrying member of Harlem's thriving buppie-ocracy and a successful gynecologist, Monique Dawkins-Dubois is married to a powerful but dull financier who barely notices her anymore. When an attractive coworker beckons, Monique can't help but be flattered.
The most straitlaced of them all, India is dismayed by her friends' illicit activities. That is, until her ex-fiancÉ, the love of her life and the destroyer of her heart, reappears in New York— and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.
Dazzling and sexy, One Flight Up is an irresistible comedic romp through the boardrooms, bedrooms, and ballrooms of Manhattan and Paris. -- Washington Square Press
When I was packing my bags for my annual trip to Ocean City, NJ, I thought the novel ONE FLIGHT UP by Susan Fales-Hill seemed like an ideal beach read. My three days of beach reading is the one time of the year where I try to read light, fun books. The blurbs from the book included words like "chick lit masterpiece" and "sassy summer beach read," so I decided that it just might hit the spot for some quality escapism reading.
And ONE FLIGHT UP was just that -- a fun way to spend an afternoon at the beach. Did I absolutely love this book? Not really. But I did enjoy it and I found myself laughing at this cast of characters quite a few times. Of course, that was when I wasn't banging my head against the back of my beach chair. These four women were most definitely "characters" and their escapades made for some very interesting (and sexy) stories.
While I'm admittedly not a huge fan of chick lit anymore, ONE FLIGHT UP initially appealed to me because the characters were a little older (notice that I didn't say more mature!) I felt as if there was a slight chance that I could relate to at least one of them since I no longer have much in common with the 20-something career girls. After reading ONE FLIGHT UP, I'm pretty sure that I don't have much in common with these women either. They had seemingly perfect lives -- they live in amazing houses, attend huge celebrity galas, and have gorgeous bodies and clothes. And that's probably one of the reasons that this book just didn't resonate with me as much as I had hoped -- I don't have any of those things.
Despite having all of this material wealth, these women were neither content nor happy. In fact, their actions and words kind of drove me nuts at times; and they give new meaning to the term "money doesn't buy happiness." One woman was still in love with an old flame, one woman was chasing anything in pants, one woman discovered that her longtime husband was having an affair, and one woman was discontent with the choices she made in life. In fact, each one of these women was miserable in her own right and they all acted out by having some form of adulterous relationship. So needless to say, there was definitely lots of sex, scandal, and deception going on in this novel.
But there were some things that I did appreciate about this novel. First and foremost, I loved getting an insider's view into the elite world of the Manhattan celebrity set. The descriptions of the clothes and parties were very fun, and I could picture these women and their friends perfectly. In addition, I loved how the author took a satirical look a these people and their world of excess. This book was often times funny and so many of the scenes were tongue-in-cheek. And finally, I enjoyed some of the overall messages of the story. By the end of the novel, all of the woman eventually came around (as I so desperately hoped they would) and realized what's important in their lives.
ONE FLIGHT UP would definitely make for an interesting book club pick. I'm sure many of my friends would have had a similar reaction to these women, but I'll also bet that some of them could relate to these women's feelings of love and loss. There is a reading guide available with some interesting questions. Some of the topics you might want to explore include friendship, adultery, marriage, career, parenting, lies, and second chances.
If you are looking for a fun summer read that takes you to the inside world of New York's elite, then I recommend checking out ONE FLIGHT UP.
Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel.