Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One Flight Up

One Flight Up by Susan Fales - Hill
Genre: Drama
Publisher: Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc
Publication Date: July 2010
Reviewed by Chrystal Dorsey

Susan Fales-Hill is an award winning television writer and producer who has worked on shows ranging from The Cosby Show to Suddenly Susan.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed Always Wear Joy.  And now, Susan Fales-Hill has written a fun, New York story that has all the elements a good novel should have, love, lies, lust, betrayal and perhaps hope – readers won’t want to put it down, not until the very end!  One Flight Up is a dramatic-comedic romp through the boardrooms, and bedrooms of Manhattan and Paris.

Atlanta, New Jersey and New York housewives meet the wives in, One Flight Up. India, Abby, Esme, and Monique this intelligent spirited foursome have been friends since their days at Manhattan’s Sibley School for Girls.  All grown up now—they seem to be living ideal lives, until the happily ever after fades and they find themselves at the crossroads of their lives, each with her own set of troubles, and suddenly craving more.

It’s not a throw your head back and laugh until you get a cramp in your side, nor is it a grab the box of tissues and boo-hoo type of story – what it is, is a refreshing diversity of characters who at first glance appear to be nice, wholesome and a lot of fun to be around, but perception and truth are miles apart when it comes to this foursome – lying, deceitful adulteress women of means, is a more accurate description.   The author provides a lesson in high-end fashion as she continuously name drops throughout the novel: Chanel clothing, Frette sheets, Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags, Cariter watches, Verdura Maltese Cross bracelet, Van Cleef & Arpels  – as well as taking the reader on a very descriptive tour of  Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore an exclusive fashion street in Paris.

The story follows the straitlaced main character, India Chumley, a super smart divorce attorney with a charming French boyfriend, Julien.  India is initially offended by her friends’ illicit activities.  Yet when her ex-fiancé, the love of her life and the destroyer of her heart, resurfaces in New York – she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite got over. Although she’s taken the plunge by moving in with French chef Julien, she’s also keeping her own apartment – and keeping it a secret from Julien.

Abby Rosenfeld Adams is a devoted wife, mother, friend and irrepressibly upbeat gallery owner who married her college sweetheart, a passionate but tormented sculptor. After confirming her husband’s affairs, she finally realizes that perhaps there’s more to life than reassuring her husband of his artistic brilliance and she does so, by committing her body to another man, on a regular basis.
Monique Dawkins-Dubois, a successful gynecologist, is married to a powerful but dull financier who barely notices her. But when an attractive coworker summons, Monique can’t help but be flattered.   She throws caution and almost her career to the wind as she satisfies her sexual desire for attention.
Esme Sarmiento Talbot is a Colombian Scarlett, who is bored with her proper Connecticut life and her, tame, all American-husband.  Esme lives life on her terms at full speed and to satisfy her hellacious sexual appetite, she escapes to Manhattan and indulges herself with casual encounters in a style similar to a man with an out of control libido.

Although none of the women seemed overly burdened by a conscience telling them to stop their extramarital activities – Eventually, all of the women just may have to face the consequences of their actions – but do they really and will their relationships survive? The answer to those questions, lie between the pages of One Flight Up, as something for the reader to discover.

Because the story starts out featuring intelligent strong-will independent women with purpose, I would have preferred that the story had not succumb to the stereotypical chick lit mode by having the women weaken and salivating over a romp between the sheets – and almost incapable of thinking because they are totally engrossed in a man, a man that’s not even their significant other.  However, the author may have chosen that route in an effort to show that even the strongest women may still have insecurities.

One Flight Up is an insightful and easy read that has appeal for intermediate and adult readers, alike.  Interestingly, Hill treats her subject with a dose of humor, but also reaffirms the value of morality and love – giving this book all the elements needed for a Lifetime Movie. But until that happens, it might be a good idea to pick up a copy of One Flight Up, for a light summer read.

Review copy provided by publisher.

No comments: