Lipstick Jungle

Candace Bushnell, Author . Hyperion $24.95 (353p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6819-3

Though Bushnell's fourth book opens in familiar Sex and the City territory—a fashion show in Bryant Park where attendees sport Jimmy Choo and Baume & Mercier—the novel quickly takes off for deeper waters. For once, men—how to get them, how to keep them—aren't Bushnell's central focus, and her three main characters, all women in their early 40s, are surely her richest to date. Two of the three are married with children; all are at the top of their field. Wendy, a movie executive at the Miramax-like Parador, struggles to finish a potentially Oscar-winning flick while placating her unemployed hubby at home. Nico, editor-in-chief at Bonfire magazine, juggles the Machiavellian politics of her corporate parent-company with the needs of her naïf boy-toy lover and her savvy Columbia professor husband. And while fashion designer Victory Ford may date a Mr. Big-like character, she takes the relationship lightly. Most of her energies are directed to saving her business, which has fallen on hard times since she launched a new, more innovative line. Bushnell herself won't face the same problem. There's plenty of the old razzle-dazzle to satisfy her fans. Her characters lunch at Michael's, go on dates to the Whitney Biennial and shop for ponies at the Palm Beach Polo Club. There's a make-out session in a bar bathroom, panty ripping on a kitchen countertop and many frank descriptions of urban sexual mores. But Bushnell's emphasis on female friendship and career ambition may also win her a legion of new readers. Her characters want "the sweet, creamy sensation of power," and it's Bushnell's account of how they got it, and how they keep it, that will really keep readers turning pages. Expect a splashy debut, followed by a long run of sales. Agent, Heather Schroder. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/11/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-7868-8707-1
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Mass Market Paperbound - 544 pages - 978-0-7868-9096-5
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 416 pages - 978-1-4013-8338-1
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