The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and Her Friends

Morrow. Aug. 2022. 416p. ISBN 9780063161757. pap. $16.99. F
In Paul’s (The Collector’s Daughter: A Novel of the Discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb) new 1920s-set historical novel, a group of literary elites known as the Round Table meet regularly at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. (The Algonquin Round Table was a real group, whose founding members included journalist Harold Ross, columnist Franklin Pierce Adams, and satirist Dorothy Parker.) When some Round Table members initiate a men’s-only Saturday night poker group, four enterprising women members (Parker; New York Times reporter Jane Grant; Broadway actress Winifred Lenihan; and ad agent/aspiring novelist Peggy Leech) follow suit and create their own weekly bridge club. What begins as a simple outlet for cocktails, gossip, and card-playing quickly morphs into a tight-knit sisterhood of unstoppable women. The bridge club tackles a myriad of social issues in their small inner circle—depression, suicide, abortion, rape, spousal abuse, stalking, divorce—and its four members reach life-changing career milestones and begin to crack some glass ceilings.
VERDICT Historical fiction enthusiasts will extol Paul’s riveting Sex in the City–esque novel, which includes speakeasies, bootleggers, gangsters, bathtub gin, and an impressive who’s who of the rich, the famous, and the infamous of Roaring-Twenties New York City.
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