Historical Fiction

Book Review – Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen

Goodreads Synopsis:

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. While confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands, someone tries to pull Alice into this scheme to sabotage her boss. But Alice remains loyal and becomes all the more determined to help Helen succeed. As pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown’s world, a woman can demand to have it all.

My Opinion:

This book is a captivating look at an amazing woman and a turning point in history that would eventually revolutionize women’s magazines everywhere.

Alice has a dream of becoming a photographer. Everyone back home in Ohio loves her photographs, so she thinks she is ready to chase her dream in New York City. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she is a little fish in a big pond. After several interviews she is fortunate enough to get a job as a secretary to Helen Gurley Brown, the new editor-in-chief of the Cosmopolitan magazine.

This story was just as much about Alice as it was about Helen. Even though it is told from Alice’s perspective, I was mesmerized by Helen and her vision for the magazine. The Cosmopolitan is in a downward spiral and Helen was brought aboard to save it. She has big plans for the magazine and feels she knows best what “her girls” want to read. The only problem is that her bosses don’t share her confidence and continuously try to derail her vision.

This book is the perfect blend of fact and fiction! I absolutely loved it! Both Alice and Helen’s story lines were captivating. I was in awe of Helen and her determination. Her thinking was so far outside the box, it was often cringe-worthy to everyone around her. She is in a man’s world fighting to break out and let her voice be heard. Alice learned a lot by working for Helen, but nothing more important than to chase your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Most of the story was spent building up to the July issue of the Cosmopolitan magazine. I could hardly wait to see how it turned out and had to stay up later than I would have liked to see how it would all end.

Not everyone will agree with the direction that the Cosmopolitan magazine would take, but there is no denying that Helen’s drive and forward thinking was light-years ahead of her time!

*Thank you NetGalley, Berkley, and Renèe Rosen for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.

Book Details:

My Rating: 5/5
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: None
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 4/30/2019
Pages: 368 (eBook)

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15 thoughts on “Book Review – Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen

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