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Queen Takes King

Queen Takes King

3.5 21
by Gigi Levangie Grazer

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Jackson Power. A name like the man himself: aggressive, ambitious, bullish. The prodigal son, heir to millions, built his own Manhattan real estate empire and revels in seeing his moniker — Power! — on glittering skyscrapers around the city that never sleeps. Beneath his desk in the towering Power headquarters, Jacks has a stack of newspapers and


Jackson Power. A name like the man himself: aggressive, ambitious, bullish. The prodigal son, heir to millions, built his own Manhattan real estate empire and revels in seeing his moniker — Power! — on glittering skyscrapers around the city that never sleeps. Beneath his desk in the towering Power headquarters, Jacks has a stack of newspapers and photographs of himself, shaking hands with the most famous men and women of his generation. Here's a man who's always loved to see his name in ink. Until now.
Cynthia Hunsaker Power. She is the epitome of elegance and society. The perfect foil for a man of Jacks's stature — his first and only wife, he'd proudly tell any of his Master of the Universe (read: Gargoyle) friends. The former prima ballerina arrived in New York at eighteen, off the bus from Missouri, brimming with talent, beauty, and drive. She met a struggling painter, fell in love, and only later learned she'd won the Power lottery. Now she sits on the New York Ballet Theater board, effortlessly outdoing herself with one gala after another. But the press coverage of the Power silver anniversary party at the Waldorf takes the cake.
Jacks Power appears twice in the New York Post the next morning — once gallantly dancing with his wife of twenty-five years, Cynthia; and once hand in hand with Lara Sizemore, morning television star, exiting her Upper West Side apartment building that very same night.
To Jackson Power, Lara is everything his wife Cynthia is not — wild, voluptuous, mysterious, and self-sustaining. A new passion has swept Jacks off his well-shod feet — and she is Lara Sizemore. He is ready for the divorce, ready to marry hismistress, America's Sweetheart. But Cynthia isn't ready to be swept out of the picture quite so easily.
Let the Divorce Games begin.
Whether they're changing the locks on each other in their Park Avenue triplex or sabotaging each other's dinner parties, it's The People's Billionaire vs. The Ballerina, in a split-up that will trump the most scandalous divorces known to polite New York society. Cynthia's got their twenty-five-year-old artist daughter, Vivienne, in her camp; Jacks has the young bartending playwright Adrian, whom he intends to pay to seduce Cynthia into an easy split. But Cynthia might have a few tricks up her well-tailored Chanel sleeve, and she — like Jacks — is prepared to use every weapon in her divorce arsenal to win the game. It's a battle of wits, of charm, of two of the biggest egos — and personalities and bank accounts — in Manhattan, and neither side will go down without a fight.
From beloved and bestselling author Gigi Levangie Grazer comes a sexy, sassy, smart novel, Queen Takes King.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It's War of the Roses fought by The Real Housewives of New York in this hilarious if overlong morality tale of young love, old fools and happy endings. After 25 years of marriage-most of it squandered on unspoken disappointment, stifled grief and wasted affection-ex-ballerina Cynthia Power and real estate tycoon hubby Jackson are headed for divorce. At the same time, Jackson's latest condo project is teetering and Carolyn's ballet board is in turmoil. Though lesbian daughter Vivienne counsels Cynthia to "think three moves ahead," Jackson, torn between his ambitious and reckless lover and imperious father, is staying in the game by sheer grit. In the end, these volatile emotional wrecks learn to rely on their hearts. Grazer (The Starter Wife) has Hollywood cred and brings a rollicking romantic-comedy tempo to her story of busting up and moving on, even if the cast is strictly celluloid: lovely to look at and unlike anyone walking this planet. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Grazer, author of the novel-turned-TV series The Starter Wife (2005), limns two modern American archetypes, the real-estate mogul and his bored socialite wife, doing battle on the moneyed playing field of Manhattan. Jacks and Cynthia began with visions of an artistic life (she was a ballerina, he a struggling painter), but when she got pregnant, he lost himself in his father's real-estate empire. Twenty-five years later, at the anniversary gala for a few hundred of their closest friends and enemies, Jacks shows up late, and livid Cynthia smiles for the cameras. The next day, after seeing a photo in the Post of Jacks embracing his latest girlfriend, morning news anchor Lara, Cynthia tells him she wants a divorce, and Jacks moves into the guest quarters. There is little love left between them, but the real estate they share-now that's something to fight for. They both want the penthouse, and Cynthia is willing to prolong the divorce for years to get it. So Jacks comes up with a scheme straight out of a screwball comedy to pay a handsome young bartender to woo his wife. Meanwhile, Cynthia is becoming an independent woman for the first time since her marriage. With the help of her Zorba-like therapist and straight-talking lesbian daughter, she takes over the directorship of a ballet company. Her experiences reinforce what she already suspected: The life of a socialite isn't all it's cracked up to be. Jacks, an amusing caricature of a powerful man with an ego of glass (he's also terrified of his geriatric father), can't seem to lure Lara into marriage; he's found the one woman in Manhattan who would rather cover news on the frontlines in Afghanistan than marry a billionaire. Too much ofeverything is not quite enough for happiness, Grazer cogently demonstrates, but before she gets too serious, romance redeems everyone. A sly, observant report from a rarefied world that's sure to be another big hit.
From the Publisher
"A sly, observant report from a rarefied world that's sure to be another big hit." — Kirkus Reviews

"Hilarious... Grazer (The Starter Wife) has Hollywood cred and brings a rollicking romantic-comedy tempo to her story of busting up and moving on." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt



CYNTHIA HUNSAKER Power stood shivering in her kitchen, a silk robe wrapped around her sylphlike body, and wondered whom she'd have to fuck or fire to get a diet Red Bull. Her doe eyes, accentuated by last night's false eyelashes, blinked at the challenge. She flicked her traight black ponytail faded only slightly by age, and smirked. Cynthia's delicate mouth was stained, her beloved Chanel Red No. 5 intensifying her pale skin. Reality check, Cynthia, she thought, when was the last time you did either?

The chef wouldn't arrive until daybreak, the French butler was still asleep, and the housekeepers and drivers and trainers hadn't even tasted their first sip of coffee before hopping the train into Manhattan. Cynthia was alone in the kitchen, something she hadn't been since Vivienne was a baby. Had it really been almost twenty-five years?

She'd been jostled awake by a recurring dream.

"Snakes," Cynthia said out loud. "Even my nightmares are clichés." She imagined her therapist Dr. Gold's reaction: "Don't waste my time, bubule. I'm a very busy man. I've got a full day of undersexed neurotics."

Now. Find that Red Bull. The industrial-size refrigerator revealed nothing. There were no other clues. Her designer had prohibited appliances, declaring them aesthetically offensive. The kitchen looked like a morgue.

Open, close, open, open, slam, drawers upon drawers upon cabinets. No luck. Cynthia was sweating in her Hanros when she finally discovered a black machine with sleek lines; could this be a coffeemaker? It bore no resemblance to the dented aluminum percolator her mother had used back in Aurora, Missouri. She squinted, trying to make sense of the buttons and the timers and the vents. Cynthia refused to acknowledge the slow submerging of the printed word into a gray blur. Reading glasses? Forget it. Next, people would be whispering: "She was a real beauty in her twenties."

Even if Cynthia could bring Darth Vader to life, where was the coffee? She set the machine down.

And where were her Gitanes?

Caffeine and cigarettes, the breakfast of champions for ballerinas, even long-retired ones. What started out decades ago as a six-packa-day Diet Coke habit had morphed into almost a case a day of highoctane diet Red Bull as her metabolism slowed. Cynthia was Sleeping Beauty without her fix. And to make matters worse, Esme, her personal maid, had hidden the cigs from her, instructed to ration five a day — 7:30, 10:30, 2:30, 6:30, 10:30 — unless otherwise notified in times of crisis. Cynthia knew better than to bother anyone about her blessed unfiltereds at this hour.

Cynthia looked past the custom Bonnet stove she'd never used to the white Carrara marble countertop she'd used once, for a photo spread. The Town & Country layout had been featured several bright springs ago — Cynthia sitting sideways on the cold marble, her black mane freshly blown out by John Barrett, her red mouth open in silent laughter (behold the bliss of the wealthy Upper East Side wife, the inside joke of the Park Avenue Princess). She could see her dancer's torso curved backward, one long leg emerging from the slit in her Armani, ending days later in the arch of her bare foot. The caption: "Cynthia Power, patroness of the New York Ballet Theater, feels as at home in her Baron Waxfield-designed kitchen as onstage in a pas de deux."

Cynthia the Perfectionist was known for being meticulous in her performances, onstage and off. Case in point: last night's pas de deux t the Waldorf. Two years to plan her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party and it was over in four hours. But what a four hours: five hundred of their closest and dearest, including the mayor, the governor, Barbara, Julian, Peter, Anna, Donald, the De Niros, Marc, Harvey, Rupert, Charlie, Woody, Diane, Liz, Nieporent, and the Schwarzmans, feigned obliviousness to the paparazzi penned in on the north side of Fifty-first Street. Once inside, they were ushered into a ballroom, completely overhauled in homage to Versailles's Hall of Mirrors. Gargantuan reflective panes had been installed on one side; faux "windows" had been painted on the facing wall to replicate the intricate gardens. There were twinkling chandeliers and a ceiling painstakingly repainted as per the Sun King's original specifications. There was consensus among the people who mattered: New York hadn't seen a party like this since the Steinberg-Tisch wedding/merger at the Met back in the eighties.

If only her husband, Jackson Xavier Power, had seen fit to show up on time.

"Now what?" she asked herself. She had a full two hours before her Pilates instructor rang, but without a schedule and without her Red Bull, she wasn't sure exactly what to do. She could boot up her social calendar for the upcoming fall season or go through last season's closet and decide which dresses to donate to charity.

On a whim, she decided to go out and get the newspapers. Excited about getting the papers — this was her life. Cynthia didn't fear running into anyone in the elevators at 740 — they were perpetually empty. Still, she decided to take the stairs. The eighteen-room apartment (six bedrooms, eight baths) commanded the penthouse of the seventeen-story limestone building, a trek, but Cynthia needed to get her blood moving. She cinched the robe tightly around her waist and walked out the service door into the darkened hallway.

Five minutes later, Cynthia was back in the kitchen, the Post spread open on the Pedini island. Her reflection hovered at its edges — forehead pinched, cheeks flushed, mouth agape. She played a game with herself, shutting her eyes, then forcing them open again. The photo remained unchanged.

Screw the Red Bull. Sleeping Beauty was wide awake.

Copyright © 2009 by Last Punch Productions, Inc.

Meet the Author

Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of three prior novels: Rescue Me (2000), Maneater (2003), and The Starter Wife (2006). The Starter Wife was adapted for an Emmy Award–winning USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing, and later for a television series; Maneater was adapted for a Lifetime miniseries starring Sarah Chalke in May 2009. In addition, Gigi wrote the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Gigi’s articles have appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour. She lives in L.A. with her two children and three miniature dachshunds.

Brief Biography

Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
January 2, 1963
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
Degree in Political Science, UCLA, 1984

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Queen Takes King 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The language was filthy! It wasn't what I was expecting. I won't read any other books by Gigi Levangie Grazer.
mysterybuffMS More than 1 year ago
I was flipping through this book and I will not read it , at all, because the author cusses like a sailor. It's probably a good story, but terrible language.
Cubanmama More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. I tend not to be so analytical, as some reviewers tend to be. I either get into it and enjoy reading it or I put it down.
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Jessi-21 More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book to sit in the shade and read this summer. Juicy NYC rich elite lifestyle tidbits are mixed in with a nice rich character for a change. Queen Takes King was such a nice change of pace that stories are now geared toward older chick lit lovers like me. I thought a lot of the plot seemed to reflect the Trump divorce but maybe that is because I am on the west coast and don't hear much about the high profile divorce cases that go on there. I am sure there is a lot of dirt to go around. Also, the author has 3 mini doxies -- maybe her next book will include these adorable pups.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twnsmom More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book that was great for the beach!
sanstress More than 1 year ago
Very amusing and original. I enjoyed it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A frothy enjoyable read -- great for the beach, airplanes, leisure and recreation - you have encountered similar plots before, but still worth reading!
grammienee More than 1 year ago
this is a beach read or plane or bus or long train ride-it is fast-enjoyable and keeps you moving-I would recommend it to the girls ages 30-70
JessiJess More than 1 year ago
Sexy, Fun Reading... I loved this book. It is pure entertainment and fun to read. Manhattan Power couple, king and queen of New York City, Jackson Power and Cynthia Power, get a divorce and in the meantime, unexpected surprises arise along the way. Jackson Power is a real estate mogul billionaire. Cynthia is the NYBT ballet Chairman. The ending was pleasing while surprising and left open for the reader to wonder what could happen next? I want more from author, Gigi Levangie Grazer. "Queen Takes King", is a fun, sexy, entertaining, funny, classy and interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was excited to add this to my summer reading list, and got it as soon as it came out. It turned out to be a big disappointment. I read "chick lit" a lot during the summer months when I want something fun and easy to read. This however, was not worth the time. The story was boring with characters I couldn't have cared less about. I made it half way through the book before finally giving up, I wasn't going to waste more time on something I really had no interest in. Sorry if you, like me, were hoping for a winner with this one. I would pick up "Belong to Me" or "The Help" instead. Both great reads that leave QTK on the dusty bookshelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
After a quarter of a century together, affluent NYC realtor Jackson Power files for divorce from his former ballerina Cynthia. She is particularly irate as she gave up her dance career for him and feels like she wasted her life trying to provide him with love and affection. She vows to take him to the cleaners.------------- Meanwhile his latest condominium realty project is going bust and the ballet board she is a member of is falling apart due to in-fighting; these add to an already stressful scenario. Their lesbian daughter Vivienne backs her mom insisting she rips her father's heart out because he had been cheating on her with a woman whose ambition is to be wife number two.--------------- QUEEN TAKES KING is a jocular look at a Hollywood family falling apart due the middle age couple drifting away from one another. The key four characters and much of the support seem to come out of Hollywood casting of an artistic affluent family albeit the First Wives Club. Although somewhat padded, Gigi Levangie Grazer provides an amusing saga of love and beyond with a Hollywood ending. ----------- Harriet Klausner