cover image With Friends Like These

With Friends Like These

Sally Koslow, Ballantine, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-345-50622-1

Koslow (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) lifts a potentially trite story of friendship to a knowing, sharp-edged chronicle of ambition and acceptance that's smart, raw, and achingly real. Chloe, married to a Wall Street striver, and Talia, hitched to a teacher with a trust fund, share a copy-writing job while raising preschool boys. Ambition drives them apart, and devotion to each other, to their kids, to their less-than-perfect husbands—brings them back. Quincy and Jules, the childless women in the quadrangle of friends, are the cool ones until New York real estate comes between them. These imperious women are a handful by themselves, but a solid cast of husbands and lovers hold their own: Arthur, the oddball middle-aged lothario who adores Jules; Tom, the trust-fund scion who prefers to remain safely ensconced in an educational ivory tower while letting Talia get down and dirty in the real world; Xander, the ruthless hedge fund hotshot married to beautiful but insecure Chloe; and Jake, the anchor of Quincy's stormy life. Koslow packs a trove of wit and wisdom into a slick pink package. (Aug.)