Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

Berkley. Apr. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780593335666. pap. $17. F
Veteran historical-fiction novelist Rosen (Park Avenue Summer; The Social Graces) gives readers a fascinating peek at Estée Lauder’s real-life start in the beauty industry while also spinning a compelling story of a close but tumultuous female friendship. Humiliated and left near penniless in 1938 New York after a family scandal, former rich girl Gloria is initially offended when an extremely blunt stranger at the salon critiques her fashion choices as well as her lackluster performance as shampoo girl. That pushy stranger, an ambitious entrepreneur named Estée Lauder, will soon be one of Gloria’s closest friends. Estée is determined to get her homemade beauty products into the city’s biggest department stores, and Gloria seems to be in a good position to help when she lands a glamorous job as a shop girl at Saks Fifth Avenue. Despite constant clashes due to their very different personalities and approaches, Gloria and Estée’s friendship endures over the years until long-kept secrets finally threaten to end it forever.
VERDICT Gloria is a likable protagonist who makes bad decisions due to her unresolved guilt over her family’s past. Readers will enjoy rooting for her to find her happy ending in this highly recommended read.
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