The Work Wife

Alison B. Hart. Graydon House, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5258-9976-8

Hart debuts with an intriguing kaleidoscopic look at a Hollywood scandal. The story unfolds over a single day from three women’s points of view. There’s Zanne Klein, 38, working as a personal assistant to director Ted Stabler; Ted’s wife, Holly; and Phoebe Lee, Ted’s first wife and former collaborator. Once a producer, Phoebe now teaches high school English. Her career shift seems to have stemmed from the fallout of a scandal involving Jerry Silver, a Harvey Weinsteinesque power player who had sexually harassed her. Holly, meanwhile, is the face of a new initiative meant to empower women filmmakers. The day culminates with an over-the-top party at the Stablers’ house overseen by Zanne, who, after eight years on the job, is hoping for a promotion. Hart’s incisive examination of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry resonates deeply as Zanne struggles to square her own ambition and livelihood with her moral compass, and Phoebe tries to make Ted understand the scope of the damage (“every time I have ever tried to take a step forward, on my own, without you, I get dragged back to that night”). Hart keeps up a brisk pace as Holly, Phoebe, and Zanne move toward a resolution regarding the Silver case. This strong outing satisfies. (July)
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