Nothing makes rich people crazier than being around other rich people who might be richer than they are..." So begins The Manny (Dial Press), a delicious debut novel by Emmy Award-winning ABC producer Holly Peterson. Park Avenue mom Jamie Whitfield lives in "the Grid," the wealthiest acre of real estate in Manhattan. She has everything a woman could want-except child-rearing help from her absentee Master of the Universe attorney husband. To fix this problem, she hires competent, down-to-earth Peter Bailey as her son's "manny." Will the new man in her life help put the ground back beneath her feet ... or sweep her off them?
Diary of a South Beach Party Girl (Simon Spotlight Entertainment) plunges readers into the debauchery and decadence of the late-'90s SoBe scene. Novelist Gwen Cooper writes: "There used to be a joke about the typical setting at a South Beach dinner party: fork for the tongue, spoon for the nose, knife for the back." The glittering read chronicles the rise and fall of Rachel Baum, a sheltered, career-oriented girl who moves to the hotspot in pursuit of the glamorous life. Against a backdrop of celebrity-studded nightclubs, illegal after-hours parties, and a never-ending flow of drugs, Rachel is ushered into South Beach's exclusive party scene. But in a town where friends become enemies faster than highs become hangovers, life in the fast lane turns into more than Rachel bargained for.
From party girl to office drone: Former ad man Joshua Ferris makes his fiction debut with the outstanding Then We Came to the End (Little, Brown). Fellow author Jim Shepard calls this book "the Catch-22 of the business world," and with good reason. With sharp observations and humor that cuts to the bone, Ferris captures the intimate, bizarre, profoundly personal world of office life-and he does it with a soft power that sneaks up and hooks you before you realize it.
Just as the 2008 presidential race heats up, novelist (and vice-presidential daughter) Kristin Gore is back with another dishy Beltway read, Sammy's House (Hyperion). Heroine Samantha "Sammy" Joyce is a healthcare advisor to a newly elected vice president. With rumors swirling that the teetotaling president has fallen off the wagon and leaks of confidential material by a mysterious blogger, Sammy has more to worry about than drafting healthcare-reform bills.
New York Times bestselling author Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) returns with Peony in Love (Random House). This haunting novel, based on a true story, brings readers into the world of an affluent young woman in 17th-century China who grows infatuated with the opera and a man she was never supposed to meet. Her unforgettable journey explores one woman's desire to be heard.
Another timeless topic is explored in Katie Roiphe's Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles, 1910-1939 (Dial Press). "I came to this book because the subject of marriage in all of its complexity is fascinating to me," the author writes. "What keeps people together? How does a marriage accommodate the shifts and changes in attraction?" Roiphe profiles seven marriages in English literary circles between 1910 and the Second World War, each of which rises to the challenge of the institution in various creative ways. From H. G. and Jane Wells to Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge, this unique book reveals how the power struggles and potent loves of Edwardian marriages are still relevant today.
The second love of women's lives (or first, as the case may be) is celebrated in Beth Harbison's new novel Shoe Addicts Anonymous (St. Martin's Press). What would you do for that irresistible pair of Jimmy Choos? Max out your credit card? Steal? Work as a phone-sex operator? Or you could get totally wild and meet on Tuesday nights with four different women with one common shoe size to swap shoes, stories, and form friendships that will last a lifetime.
Strap on your heels and step into the hottest properties in the country with Diary of a Real Estate Rookie (Kaplan Publishing), by Alison Rogers, founding editor of the New York Post's real estate section. Her must-read memoir chronicles her quirky life in New York real estate, from her meager beginnings (starting a business with only $16,000) to eventual success and all of the outrageous, stranger-than-fiction adventures in between.
Paramount Pictures has already snapped up Jonathan Tropper's funny, insightful novel How to Talk to a Widower (Delacorte). Doug Parker is a 29-year-old widower living in the suburbs whose life spins out of control when his second-time-around dating mishaps wreak havoc in his well-manicured community. With humor and heartbreak, this novel explores grief, love, suburbia, and the real meaning of family.