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Better Homes & Husbands


Better Homes & Husbands

Welcome to Manhattan's 980 Park Avenue where the rich and filthy
rich reside. Don't be jealous, though, because they're not without
their problems. They have their share of struggles, scandals and
grief. As the poor are so fond of saying, "Money can't buy
happiness." But let us not forget the retort of the rich, "It makes
misery so much easier." Such is the case at 980 Park Avenue.

BETTER HOMES & HUSBANDS gives us an inside look at the lives of
those who live and work in the building; those who are separated
not only by walls of plaster and plywood but also by walls of
class, society and snobbery. However, no wall is enough to keep
them out of each other's lives completely. Their joys and their
tragedies intermingle over the years and no one's business is as
confidential as they'd like to pretend it is.

Take, for instance, Claudia and Madeline, girlhood friends who are
as close as sisters but become separated due to a terrible tragedy.
What starts out as a simple life and close friendship becomes
hopelessly complicated as misunderstandings occur. Then there's
Claudia's father, Dick Sapphire, who finds love for the second time
and then has to adjust himself to a wife and a life so much
different from what he had anticipated.

There's Vinnie, the elevator man, who leaves the building behind in
what seems like misfortune only to find that it has led him to the
greatest opportunity of his life. And let us not forget the
Baroness Idabell Smith d'Alencon, a woman whose invitations are few
and far between but coveted by every woman in the building. You'll
also meet Angelita Somoza, an exquisite woman who has a
never-ending procession of maids and nannies who seem to have no
skills whatsoever for cleaning or childcare.

The stories in this book span the timeframe of 1970 to 2000 and the
changes that occur in the lives of the residents and in society.
The residents of 980 Park Avenue may know which stock to buy to
increase their fortunes. They may know the designer from which to
purchase an evening gown for the next society ball. The one thing
they don't seem to be familiar with is the old adage that good
fences make for good neighbors.

Valerie Ann Leff makes a charming debut with her first novel.


Reviewed by Amie Taylor on December 22, 2010

Better Homes & Husbands
by Valerie Ann Leff

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312330618
  • ISBN-13: 9780312330613