Author: Lynn Steward
Type of book: fashion, 1975, boutique, New York, upscale life, romance, recent divorce, forbidden love, travel, dreams, struggles, starting anew
Year it was published: 2014
It may be the dawn of the women’s movement, but, in the 1970s world of women’s fashion, there’s no sisterly-love. Newly single, Dana McGarry, determined to make her mark at New York’s most glamorous department store, is stymied by an unyielding boss and few opportunities. Tired of putting her life on hold, she moves out of her comfort zone and into the arms of a dynamic businessman, betting it all. Not unlike Coco Chanel, Dana’s wealthy suitor opens doors and opportunities, suggesting a bold fashion move to further her career, and, like Chanel, Dana “never wants to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Their personal and professional relationship is put to the test, when a life is threatened, a secret is revealed, and her heart is broken
Intermingling fashion legends, iconic business women, real events, and untold stories of that time, The Dana McGarry Series is rich with historic content. In Dana’s world are spirited multi-generational women who are determined to succeed, and conflicted men who are keeping up appearances with secrets, lies, deception, and manipulation.
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Main characters include Dana, an ambitious divorcee who is trying to move on with her life by focusing on making her dreams come true when it comes to work. She is very dedicated to work as well as to friends and family. Brett is Dana's ex-husband of eight years who cheated on her with Janice and who is also a lawyer. He is very ambitious when it comes to his job and isn't afraid of blackmail. Mark is Dana's new paramour whom she has known for a few years. He is older than she and is in his early 40s (Dana is about 30?) who has a teenage daughter and has quite a few secrets that he decided to omit when he began to date her. There is also Andrew Ricci, Dana's friend and co-worker who loves a married man; Dana's boss who shoots down her dreams and wants to live in the past and Johnny Cirone who has a very tantalizing offer for Dana.
Stop and smell the roses, don't despair
The story is told in third person narrative from everyone's point of view, and the events tend to move in a slow pace. The story-lines were definitely interesting and the reader keeps up a lot with the characters, be they protagonists or antagonists. However, I did feel that the conflicts tended to lack tension, although the pacing does make up for lack of tension. Also as well, the main protagonist, Dana, seems a little too perfect. That is, if one is to ask me what are some negative personality traits she has, aside from the fact she tends to be meek, I cannot think of any. The characters, I feel, were not explored well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.
The story is definitely a slow read and I don't mean it in a negative way. Most of the time, my reads require deep thought, and it's pretty rare that I get a chance to read, relax and just not give a lot of thought to what I'm reading. However, in the book there are times that do require some deep thinking, but it's done very subtly that one hardly notices it's there. While I liked the pacing of the story as well as becoming involved in Dana's dream and learning more about high class world that she inhabits, what I didn't like is that the novel seemed a little too well done and perfect. There are conflicts, but there isn't urgency and those conflicts didn't have tension. Also as well, this book strongly reminded me of Evanthia's Gift by Effie Kamenou.
This review is for Author Assistant
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)