Park Avenue Summer

Rosen, Renée. Penguin. Apr. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9781101991145. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781101991152. F
Working as the secretary to a controversial editor at a struggling magazine was not precisely the type of opportunity that aspiring photographer Alice Weiss was looking for when she came to New York from her small Midwestern hometown. From her first meeting with Helen Gurley Brown, however, Alice is won over by Brown's passion and determination to rebrand Cosmopolitan as a sex-positive magazine for young single women. In Rosen's fifth historical novel (e.g., Dollface), Alice must adjust to big-city life while navigating the tense office politics swirling around Brown, the attentions of an untrustworthy but charming office crush, and the unexpected persistence of unanswered questions from her past. This is a satisfying read about one young woman's attempt to take advantage of the doors opening for women in 1960s America, and Alice is a likable complex heroine. Though it feels a bit unresolved when compared to Alice's personal journey, the early history of Brown's reign at Cosmo contains more than enough intrigue and drama to hold readers' interest and is a fitting backdrop to Alice's quest.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of Fiona Davis and Melanie Benjamin.

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