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THE DEBUTANTE DIVORCEE
By Plum Sykes
(Miramax Books, $23.96)

Author Plum Sykes has done it again with her delicious new book THE DEBUTANTE DIVORCEE. She has parted the velvet ropes and ushered us into the private world where the young and rich dwell in style.

When newlywed Sylvie Mortimer meets Lauren Blount, they instantly bond over beachfront cocktails and the Pucci bikinis they are sporting. Sylvie is moping through the first lonely day of her “Un-Honeymoon”, caused by her new husband’s hasty departure for a work emergency. Lauren, draped in antique seed pearls and other unbeachy jewels, is splashing her way joyfully through her “Divorce Honeymoon”, the latest trend among New York Debutantes. After more cocktails, she decides to adopt the unhappy new bride as her new best friend.

Back in Manhattan, Sylvie is easily lead into the world of couture wearing, nightclubbing, vodkatini drinking young heiresses, who wear their divorces like the latest, must-have accessory. Realizing she has an opportunity to catapult her up-and-coming fashion-designer boss to the top of the heap, she readily avails herself of invitations to any and every trendy event, including Socialite Baby Showers, Divorce Showers and Power Christenings. But rather than being distracted by the perfectionistas around her, she begins to see through their facades to the vulnerable, inner core of their humanness.

At the same time, Hunter, her devoted and adorable new husband, who travels for work and is mostly absent, leaves Sylvie to fall prey to the endless stream of debutante gossip. This brings to light questions about Hunter’s fidelity and her need to examine his seemingly innocent ways. As she weighs his sincerity against her suspicions, her life and those of the Divorcee Debutantes start to run a parallel course. ‘Is what you see really what you get?’ she wonders.

Ms. Sykes’ insightful and intelligent writing style makes THE DEBUTANT DIVORCEE a great last guilty-pleasure read of the summer, although as far as I’m concerned, this book would be a pleasure to read, no matter what the season.

ONE DANGEROUS LADY
By Jane Stanton Hitchcock
(Miramax Books, $13.95)

New York socialite Jo Slater, the savvy heroine from the 2002 best seller Social Crimes is back with a vengeance in Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s new thriller, ONE DANGEROUS LADY.

After three long years as an outcast, Jo has reclaimed her position at the top of the social ladder, despite having been precipitously cast to its lowest rungs like last season’s designer bag. Welcomed back into the bejeweled arms of her ultra-wealthy clan, she finds herself in Barbados giving emotional support to her best friend Betty who is orchestrating her daughters’ opulent, high-society wedding week.

The Grande Finale in a string of pre-wedding parties is the showy, over-the-top rehearsal dinner, hosted by Russell Cole and his young new wife, Carla, aboard the “Lady C”, their luxury yacht and permanent, floating home. But a finale of another sort trumps the celebration when Russell disappears without a trace. Carla, who is rumored to be a social climber with a dubious past, immediately comes under Jo’s suspicion as the one who has orchestrated Russell’s vanishing act. After all, Jo knows a mysterious woman when she sees one, as she herself is the victim of blackmail for the cover-up of her own misdeed!

As the search for Russell continues, Carla, Power of Attorney in hand, proceeds to spend her husband’s billion-dollar fortune as if it were pocket change Her lavish, inappropriate gift-giving and the multi-million dollar renovation of her coveted Manhattan apartment set the stage for her entrée into the world of the easily-impressed Uber-wealthy. Meanwhile, she and Jo play-out a high-stakes game of cat and mouse right under their distracted noses.

Jo and Carla are not the only ladies with a dark secret or two. The “Lady C”, the last place Russell Cole was seen alive, has a few secrets of her own which she begins to yield as the story unfolds. Just when you think you have it all figured out, up pops another of the twists and turns Ms. Stanton Hitchcock so cleverly weaves in this book, keeping us glued to each and every page until the end.

THE WOMAN’S BELLY BOOK
By Lisa Sarasohn
New World Library $15.95
(www.newworldlibrary.com)

When I pulled THE WOMAN’S BELLY BOOK from among the titles being considered for this month’s column, both my editor and I had a visceral reaction to the word ‘Belly’. But as I began to read it, I realized that our discomfort was no accident.

For aeons, women around the world have accepted society’s negative message that any abs but those of steel, are unacceptable. We have been led to believe that sucking it in and corseting or girdling any extra flab around our waists are perfectly normal ways to hide un-stylish curves. Never mind that we can’t move freely or even breathe. Even the word ‘belly’ brings many of us to our emotional knees. But luckily, through her revealing book, author Lisa Sarasohn explains the origins of our need to have the abs of a weight lifter and how the lack of respect for the Feminine in our culture has brought about this belief in our society.

Starting with the most basic of principles, Ms. Sarasohn teaches women how to breathe all the way to our center, in a series of simple exercises she has created through her extensive practices with yoga, qigong, tai chi and belly dancing. By learning how to breathe deeply, we can begin to find our spiritual and emotional center, a place many of us have never dared to explore. It is our center from which all creativity, intuition and life itself springs, and getting in touch with this core energy can be a daunting task. But even more daunting, it would appear, is continuing to ignore our center of power that has been squashed for too long by the panels of control top pantyhose and an obsession with dieting.

In later chapters we are introduced to another series of exercises and stretches called the “Gutsy Woman Workout”, which takes only seven minutes to do. And along the way, we learn the secrets of enhancing our intuition, getting a really good nights sleep and even how to enjoy a more intimate and fulfilling sex life. All of this information and more will certainly open your eyes, as it did mine, if you can just get past the “B” word.

KNITTING RULES! By Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Storey Publishing $12.95
(www.storey.com)

From premiere knitting humorist and blogger Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, comes the latest book about the wit and wisdom of, what else, knitting!

Within the pages of this marvelous “how-to” book we are gently but firmly escorted beyond the bare bones of knitting to the world of the yarn obsessed. No matter how you define your social standing, knitter or non-knitter you are still privy to partake in the unraveling of the knitters’ secrets.

Hour upon hour of bringing needles and yarn together can be tough for some, but Ms. Pearl-McPhee walks us through the multi-tasking necessary to achieve this goal. She covers the gamut, from watching TV while knitting, the most obvious combo, to traveling by mass-transit, which is also ecologically friendly and finally to knitting while exercising. A stationary bike is the preferred modus operandi, but we are cautioned against tangling the yarn in the machinery.

”Ten Reasons To Knit Hats’ is accompanied by a chart of typical head sizes, Hat Rules and the no-nonsense directions for a No-Pattern Hat. And of course, ideas for socks, scarves and gloves are included here as well. Knitting a sweater is found in later chapters and a knitter’s glossary will help you easily find the information you need for any project you are contemplating.

In the end, it’s comforting to know that there is no such thing as “knitting police”, which means you can botch your way to the perfect shawl as many times as necessary until you get it right, and no-one will scoff at your efforts. Also, we are reminded that knitting is not dangerous, unless your knitting needle themselves put you in harms way. You can check-out the author’s knitting blog at www.yarnharlot.com for even more fun information about this age-old craft, which, it seems, has now morphed into an actual lifestyle.

COVER-TO-COVER,
Other Titles We Like!

HEALTHY WATERS By Mike Magee
Spenser Books, $19.95
(www.HealthPolitics.com)

HEALTHY WATERS is a book aimed at the health professional and is, therefore, a bit clinical in nature. But its honest approach to explaining the current water scarcity crisis is intriguing and eye opening. This book also discusses the impact of a resource we often take for granted when it comes our everyday lives and health. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

THE SICK DAY HANDBOOK
By Ellie Bishop
Conari Press $9.95
www.redwheelweiser.com

Are you looking for new reasons to call in sick? If so, the definitive guide,

THE SICKDAY HANDBOOK will certainly be your new best friend. Everything from “Get Fake Sick” while covering your tracks, to “Important Holidays Corporate America Ignores” is covered here, plus more tactics than you ever knew you needed to get a day off with pay.

SKINNY BITCH
By Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
Running Press, $13.95
(www.runningpress.com)

SKINNY BITCH, is “A no nonsense tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous!” written by two former fashion models with the communal voice of a drill sergeant. They offer lots of great suggestions for getting fit and also list healthy alternatives to your favorite food. “No-Nos” are in large supply in this marvelous little book.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 60 - September 8023
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