Review

Lip Service

by M. J. Rose

Like
most visitors to the New York Botanical Garden, I'd always seen
them during the day in sunshine when the colors of the flowers and
foliage were bright and their groomed perfection was obvious. But
that evening, as we rode up the winding road that led through the
gardens, the brilliance of the gardens was concealed by the
encroaching twilight. Rather than the cultivated postcard I was
familiar with, I found I preferred the mystery that loomed before
me now as the shadows deepened. What was hiding in the old branches
of the tall elm? In the twisted limbs of the maple? What was it
that made the needles of the spruce quiver? Why did the forest seem
more spirited in this dusky light? Then we rounded a turn and the
illuminated conservatory blossomed out of the darker greenery
surrounding it.
As
the wife of a control freak psychotherapist, Julia Sterling, at the
tender age of 38, is a Manhattan socialite who, indirectly through
her husband's connections, takes a job as a phone-sex therapist at
the high-toned Butterfield Institute. (BUTTERFIELD 8, if you
remember correctly, is the name of John O'Hara's famous novel about
high-class call girls.) Combined with her intense desires which
have gone unfulfilled at home and a writer's need to know how
things work, Julia launches into a disturbing and erotic adventure
with her clients.
Will
Dr. Sterling's charity foundation (FIT for FATHERS IN NEED) be
charged with wrongdoing by the IRS? Will the Butterfield Institute
get exposed as a sex shop? Will Julia give herself over completely
to the Institute's director, Sam, her husband's associate, who
quotes ""To His Coy Mistress"" with upper-class longing? Or will
her college newspaper chum --- newly divorced and in New York ---
rekindle their teenage obsession? Like Isadora Wing before her,
Julia overcomes her initial fears and finds a greater, stronger
sense of herself at book's end.

This
is a fun read, a quick one at that. You'll be passing this book
around the office to everybody you know. M. J. Rose, a former ad
executive who has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art,
self-published this book and then sold it to Simon & Schuster,
under whose guidance the book is selling very, very well,
particularly on Amazon.com, where it's the top-selling independent
book. Rose's story is as fascinating as Sterling's, filled with the
same need to uncover the multifaceted aspects of everything, the
same passion, the same fascination with people and what makes them
tick. LIP SERVICE is a remarkable achievement for this
author.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 22, 2011

Lip Service
by M. J. Rose

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2000
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria
  • ISBN-10: 0671041320
  • ISBN-13: 9780671041328