One Sunday Morning
  • One Sunday Morning
  • One Sunday Morning

One Sunday Morning

2.4 10
by Amy Ephron

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One Sunday morning four women at a bridge party in the elegant Gramercy Park Hotel see a beautiful young woman whom they all know leaving a nearby hotel with a man who is not her husband. The sight of twenty-year-old Lizzie Carswell with Billy Holmes is shocking and potentially ruinous. And though the ladies do not know the whole story — and despite their

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One Sunday morning four women at a bridge party in the elegant Gramercy Park Hotel see a beautiful young woman whom they all know leaving a nearby hotel with a man who is not her husband. The sight of twenty-year-old Lizzie Carswell with Billy Holmes is shocking and potentially ruinous. And though the ladies do not know the whole story — and despite their mutual promise to keep what they've seen to themselves — it is only a matter of time before one of them talks . . . with heartbreaking consequences for them all.

In One Sunday Morning, author Amy Ephron brilliantly navigates the social contradictions of Jazz Age New York society and brings a remarkable time and place to glorious life with a riveting drama of gossip, indiscretion, secrets, and betrayal.

Editorial Reviews

Seattle Times
“Ephron has written another historical novel destined to please her fans. . . . it will entertain you.”
Chattanooga Times Free Press
“Book clubs will treasure the precisely rendered atmosphere in this jewel of a novel.”
Miami Herald
“An elegant fable . . . a charming package, a smooth blend of period romance and contemporary wisdom.”
Reader's Digest
“A jewel of a book.”
Newhouse News Service
“An exquisite, Edith Wharton-esque novel”
“Amy Ephron is our Edith Wharton. . . . [she] is a master storyteller”
“Ephron maintains the suspense through this evocative, smartly paced novel of romantic intrigue.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Ephron writes beautifully . . . a Jazz Age take on Sex and the City.”
People Magazine
"Ephron maintains the suspense through this evocative, smartly paced novel of romantic intrigue."
Publishers Weekly
Short, light period women's fiction with itty-bitty chapters and clever twists is Ephron's specialty (A Cup of Tea; White Rose; etc.). This one is set in 1926 and features New York's postdeb set, pretty jazz-age flappers with bobbed hair who are either just about to be married or looking hard for a suitable husband at all the smart parties. When Lizzie Carswell is seen walking out of the Gramercy Park Hotel Sunday morning after a big dance at the Waldorf, still in her evening clothes and with another girl's fiancE, it takes no time at all for the scandalized buzz to reach every speakeasy and society gathering in town. That very night Lizzie is snubbed at the opera by absolutely everyone except kindhearted Mary Nell. A corpse turns up is it the guilty fiancE, unable to face his future? That little mystery is quickly solved. Mary meets a handsome world traveler who might just be Mr. Right. And then some of the girls whirl off to Europe Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo with predictably unpredictable romantic results. Don't expect The Great Gatsby (the fashionable new novel that Mary is reading aboard The Paris as she steams off to Paris); expect, instead, a quick, delightful little excursion. Agent, Owen Laster. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It may be the Jazz Age, but when four bridge-playing matrons spot pretty young Lizzie leaving a nearby hotel with a man who is not her husband, they are shocked. With a four-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Whartonesque novel of manners about a group of pretty, self-absorbed, rich young people in New York City in the merry mid-1920s. Prohibition doesn't cramp this set's style as they cruise around downtown to speakeasies in their parents' fancy cars and to parties at the Waldorf. A faux pas can change everything in a moment, though, as it does for Lizzie Carswell, who is seen stepping out of the Gramercy Park Hotel one Sunday morning with Billy Holmes after his roaring party the night before. Billy is supposed to be engaged to Clara Hart, the wedding just weeks off, though Billy is a wild drinker and tends to disappear for long stretches, as he does after this party. The mystery of the night is compounded by Lizzie's flight to Europe, where her mother has presumably already abandoned the family. Meanwhile, mutual friends Mary Nell, the sensible, single protagonist, and awkward romantic Iris Ogleby (both saw Lizzie that morning and probably leaked the news, though they swore they wouldn't) have gotten permission to sail to Europe with Betsy Owen, an older woman "who wrote novels about New York with jaggedly exacting prose and minute, if sometimes recognizable detail." Also joining them is Betsy's handsome nephew Geoffrey Rice, a soldier wounded in the war in France, who plays court to Mary publicly, though he has other ideas about love once they're in Paris. In fact, the tension throughout this exquisitely calibrated story is between the public and the private-what's known and what's kept secret-and Mary and Iris have much to learn about judging appearances, especially regarding the attentions of the opposite sex. The palette is deliberately flat, the prose seemingly transparent andsuperficial. There is, supposedly, a whole messy world roiling beneath, but Ephron (White Rose, 1999, etc.) allows only a delicate, tasteful glimpse. Bewitching in its tidy spareness and splendidly light touch.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

"She never did understand what it meant to be proper," said Betsy Owen as she turned away from the window in a sweeping motion as though her skirt alone propelled her across the floor. And, there it was, in that one understated sentence, an indictment of all that Lizzie Carswell had ever hoped to be and an acknowledgement that there was a story behind the seemingly innocent act they had all witnessed.

Mary wondered, at the time, if Betsy hadn't commented on it or hadn't commented on it in quite the way she did, if it wouldn't have just passed, subsided, receded, if you will, into a faint glancing moment, one of the things you see and then forget about, rather than something as piercing as a shard of glass that becomes forever imbedded in one's memory, so that every time any one of them would see Lizzie Carswell after that, they would remember that morning when they saw her coming out of the Gramercy Park Hotel.

A light rain was falling. Mary Nell felt the soft mist on her face, barely an antidote to the piercing hangover she had from the night before and Billy Holmes' party at the Waldorf that she'd stayed at much too long. She'd had to come in the back door and shut it softly, slip her heels off before she hit the tiled entranceway, and tiptoe up the stairs, so as not to wake anyone.Mama would have given her a lecture that she'd "gone wild" again. Papa would have waited until morning and sat her down over coffee and questioned whether she was chasing something that didn't exist, trying to fill a void, suggested that perhaps she should do something useful, not understanding, at all, that it was useful to sit up late at the Waldorf, to dance, to discuss Kant and whether Elizabeth Harkness' dress was too demure for the season. And, so, she'd had to continue the charade that she was well-rested and obedient, and get out of bed, even though she'd had barely four hours' sleep -- it was so hard to settle down after you'd been dancing -- her head feeling like damp cotton, and honor the obligation she'd made to go to Betsy Owen's house for a bridge party at eleven a.m. on Sunday.

There would be strong coffee with cream and tea sandwiches, no matter what time of day one visited Betsy Owen, she always served tea sandwiches (as if it was a fashion), and it would be as dull as dry toast. At least, that's what Mary thought, as she turned onto Gramercy Park and stood outside Betsy Owen's brownstone, for a moment, before going in.

There was a family walking out of the Gramercy Park Hotel wearing unseasonable pastels, the mother holding one of those pamphlets that pegged them instantly as tourists. Mary envied them. What it must be like to see New York with a sense of wonder, as an outsider. She remembered her mother taking her to see the Statue of Liberty when she was a little girl and the gift shop that was under the Statue's skirt. She remembered how small she thought the Statue was from the ferry and how big it seemed to her when she was inside the skirt. She still had, on her dresser, the tiny replica of the Statue of Liberty her mother had bought for her that day.

She did hope she would be able to convince her father to let her go to Europe in the spring. She wanted to be in Paris where everything didn't seem so insular, where it seemed it would be easier to write verse, where everyone, even the shopgirls, wore the newest fashions, and, if they didn't, it seemed as though they were creating one of their own, where there was no Prohibition, and the days and the nights seemed to flow into one another, instead of here, where the dark and furtive lure of the night was in direct contrast to the activities of the day.

She rang the bell and waited politely for Betsy to answer the door. Perhaps she could get Betsy to intercede for her with her parents. She could be so convincing. Betsy believed that life experience was worth everything. She wasn't like most of the women Mary knew, not the least bit like Mary's parents' friends. She had an occupation. Betsy was a writer, a celebrated woman of letters, in some circles, and, in others, given a less polite description. She wrote novels about New York with jaggedly exacting prose and minute, if sometimes, recognizable detail.

Betsy answered the door looking markedly older than she had the last time Mary had seen her, as if her age had caught up with her overnight, her gray hair tousled in ringlets like a cap on her head ...

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2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good novella. It is not as entertainingas "A Cup of Tea" but it is definately worth reading.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Although metaphorical, there were too many unresolved issues in this book. The ending left me with more questions than answers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I knew from the onset that this was a book about appearances being deceiving. I just wish it would have more a little more unpredictable. I found the character Mary Nell to be interesting, and so the story earns 3 stars on her sake. Otherwise, it would have only been 2.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This lighter than air novel took me back to the 1920's, a era when scandal was dispensed in whispers rather then in screaming headlines in the tabloids. This slim, expertly crafted novel turned out to one of the best reads I've had in some time
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book left my entire book club quite disappointed. The characters are severly underdeveloped, the metaphors obvious and the story came across as disjointed and flat. There was a lot of potential here, but even at the last word I was still waiting for that potential to be realized in any meaningful way. The story left too many questions unanswered, which was not so bad since none of the characters inspired enough concern for this reader to really care. For my first, and probably last, exposure to the writings of Amy Ephron, I have to say I had hoped for more and was completely disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved 'A Cup of Tea,' so I had high expectations for 'One Sunday Morning.' Unfortunately, this new book is nowhere near the quality of 'A Cup of Tea.' While the prose is generally smooth and graceful, the content is lacking. The story is choppy and fragmented, with undeveloped characters, unresolved plot points, and an unsatisfying ending. Not worth the effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. The author is very talented, I love the descriptions she gives. A terrific story!