A couple of years ago I did a course in paper cutting and we were asked to bring a heavy book for a weight as a course requirement. In my possession were lots of light weight paperbacks but nothing of substantial mass or that I would risk getting glue on! Easily solved, I purchased One Fifth Avenue by Candice Bushnell for a couple of pounds from the charity store for its serious bulk and kgs!!!
Funnily enough in the class we didn’t require heavy books and it has sat in my room ever since. Knowing that a pending flat move is on the cards in a few months I recently cleared a number of areas of my flat, including the pile of 100+ books gathering dust in a corner! Sorting the books into three piles; favourites to keep, books still unread and ones that could go, I quickly discovered at least ten books that had been hidden I hadn’t broken the spine of. Brilliant! Currently on a self imposed spending ban, due to the crazy size of deposit required for a London flat, I made a silent promise to read two books a month. This has been a successful task and I also leave time at the end of the night to read in bed, switching off all technology. I used to be someone who lay in the dark, hoping to fall to sleep, but I have found reading slows down the brain and I’m nodding off after about twenty minutes.
Candice Bushnell is famed for Sex and the City but she has a number of other titles under her belt including Lipstick Jungle and One Fifth Avenue. One Fifth is based in the art deco building of New York, famed for its strict co op and monied up residents. The story is set only a few years ago when the widowed and ageing socialite queen Mrs Houghton falls over and dies. Leaving her tri-level penthouse on the market, to be snapped up at the bargain price of $20million(!), by new money Paul and Annalisa Rice. The story seamlessly weaves through the narrative of a handful of key residents including the Goodge family; Mindy, James and Sam who live in the converted luggage rooms on the ground floor and who’s lack of wealth sets them apart from the other residents. Mindy is also the president of the residents board and relishes her position of official nosy parker, making her the least liked resident whilst her teenage son, Sam, tries to balance this by helping the other residents with their computers.
Central to the story line is Philip, who has an off and on again relationship with actress Schiffer Diamond who has conveniently just left her husband and moved back to One Fifth! Things don’t go smoothly as Philip, knowing he shouldn’t, hires the young Lola as his assistant, subsequently bedding her and then acts confused when she permanently moves in and starts to plan a wedding! Love never runs smoothly, especially for Philip when his elderly aunt Enid lives in the apartment next door and is determined to get rid of the unsuitable Lola.
I went into reading this book with baited breath as I really thought it would be a light rom-com that could be read and left behind on a beach. Pleasantly surprised, this book is incredibly well written and engages you in the story from the very beginning. It was a really engaging, enjoyable read and would be great to dip into on a rainy Sunday afternoon in front of a fire with a hot chocolate!
Have you read any books by Candice Bushnell? What are your favourites?