Review

The Perfect Manhattan

by Leanne Shear and Tracey Toomey



THE PERFECT MANHATTAN is as tempting and juicy as the red
maraschino cherry that dangles brightly above a Manhattan-filled
martini glass on the cover. This candid debut novel by Leanne Shear
and Tracey Toomey takes "Sex and the City" to the Hamptons, where
money talks and "camera whores" claw for time on the red carpet.
The chapters are hot and the summertime exploits of the wealthy are
VVIP only, but the cocktails are cool and intoxicating.

Dressed in Chanel, Valentino, Gucci, Hermès, Dolce &
Gabbana, Juicy Couture, Chopard, Manolo Blahnik, Prada, Burberry,
Tracey Feith and more, the pedigreed socialites, whose every outfit
is described by the color, price tag and designer labels, party
with Grey Goose, Ketel One and Stoli Raspberry vodka. Vueve
Clicquot champagne, Patrón tequila, Bombay Sapphire gin, and,
of course, perfect Manhattans are served in abundance to the
playboys, moguls and spoiled rich kids who parade behind the velvet
ropes nightly at Spark, the hottest restaurant and nightclub in the
Hamptons. Every page reads like the Fashion & Style News pages
straight from Town and Country magazine.

The best way to enjoy THE PERFECT MANHATTAN is to soak up the sun
with your very own tanned beach butler delivering cool cocktails.
It is the perfect summer tonic for those who have fantasized about
the glitz and glamour of the most elite summer destination, "The
Hamptons --- the exclusive Long Island retreat for every New Yorker
who 'was somebody.'" Chapter titles named after cocktails like Sloe
Comfortable Screw, Sex on the Beach, Bay Breeze, Thug Passion,
Salty Dog, and Sicilian Kiss are revealing preludes.

Despite being a recent Columbia University graduate, Cassie Ellis
flunks out of Martini Mike's Bartending School and lands a
bartending job at an upscale Irish pub in Manhattan named Finton's.
Cassie becomes best friends with Annie, a sexy blonde Brazilian
cocktail waitress and recent Tisch School of the Arts graduate over
a tray of Bikini martinis. On her first night as bartender at
Finton's Pub, Cassie is introduced to multimillionaire art dealer
Martin Pritchard, who just happens to be one of the few members of
the exclusive Southampton Country Club in the Hamptons. He invites
her to the Hamptons for the weekend and promises to help her get a
bartending job for the summer so she can make more money.

Cassie's first exposure to the lifestyle in the Hamptons is seeing
Martin's valet with five Louis Vuitton suitcases. Feeling like
"Little Orphan Annie at Daddy Warbucks's mansion," Cassie
accompanies Martin and a young woman fifty years his junior in a
Bentley to the Hamptons. Martin's first stop is the Barefoot
Contessa specialty grocery store in East Hampton, where he buys
Beluga caviar and pâtés shipped daily from France.

Sitting at an ocean-side table at the Southampton Country Club,
Cassie is introduced to her summer romance, James Edmonton the
Third, one of the most eligible bachelors in the Hamptons,
"graduate of Yale University, vice president at Goldman Sachs, and
master boatman and golfer," not to mention he lives on Further
Lane, one of the most exclusive streets in East Hampton. The day
becomes even more perfect when Cassie is hired as a bartender at
Spark, the place for the chichi and celebrities to see and be seen
and where Cassie gets her first $1,000 tip. Annie is also hired,
and the two girls cater to and then party with the who's who of the
Hamptons social register.

Cassie writes her firsthand experiences bartending to the rich and
famous socialites in the Hamptons on beverage napkins to fuel her
budding screenplay career. On one side of the bar Cassie observes
opulence, celebrity bling and excess of every kind. On her side of
the bar, cocaine snorting, "staff shots" every thirty minutes,
theft, secret trysts in the employee bathroom, and $5,000 bar tabs
are nightly events.

Cassie's screenwriting dreams are a perfect match for James's film
production plans. Behind the velvet ropes and off the red carpet as
James's date at many of the exclusive summer parties and the
Bridgehampton polo match, Cassie encounters a cool reception from
some of James's friends, especially the "Pearls Girls." After all,
Cassie has not been socializing with them at Gstaad, Aspen or St.
Barths.

Wrapped in James's arms and Cristal champagne lifestyle, Cassie
overlooks the fact that James is oblivious to their slight until
she realizes just who she has become in order to inhabit his world
of "selfish, shallow, boring people spending money trying to
impress each other and cover up the fact that their lives are
hollow and meaningless." Family skeletons are revealed and
declarations of love are tested. The moral here Cassie is this ---
if your first summer romance in the Hamptons doesn't work out,
there is always next summer.

Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 17, 2011

The Perfect Manhattan
by Leanne Shear and Tracey Toomey

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway
  • ISBN-10: 0767918495
  • ISBN-13: 9780767918497