Whip-smart, scandalous, and chic. (Stephanie Klein, author of Moose)
Former McCall's editor-in-chief Koslow features in her mellow roman ^ clef Magnolia Gold, who gets booted out of her magazine kingdom, but lands on stilettos that "you could almost mistake for Manolos." Magnolia, editor-in-chief of Lady magazine, has her dream job, a Cartier watch and a fab New York apartment, but Lady's publisher and parent company president cozy up to gauche celebrity Bebe Blake and decide-against Magnolia's warnings that Bebe will alienate the mag's "red state Republican" readership-to turn Lady into Bebe and demote Magnolia to "corporate editor," a bogus position that's soon eliminated. (Bebe may remind readers of Rosie O'Donnell, who assumed Koslow's duties at McCall's once it was relaunched as Rosie.) As Bebe ravages the magazine, a down-and-out Magnolia orchestrates her return while she and best friend Abbey run through their share of nonstarter men. Abbey finds Mr. Right, and just as things are looking their bleakest for romantically and professionally flailing Magnolia, lightning strikes twice. Koslow's take on behind-the-scenes maneuvering will keep readers turning the pages of her debut, but her soft-focus on glossy magazine publishing (the same mani-pedis, shopping diversions and expensive meals circuit that have been catalogued elsewhere) feels reserved: the villains aren't especially vile, and the goodies are very goodly-call it a red state The Devil Wears Prada. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Koslow, former editor in chief of McCall's, writes a fictionalized account of the magazine's takeover by Rosie O'Donnell. In 2001, McCall'sbecame Rosie, which folded after 18 months amid high drama. The publisher and O'Donnell sued each other, though the judge eventually tossed out both suits. In this thinly veiled roman à clef, Maggie Goldfarb is poised to revamp the nation's oldest women's magazine, Lady. However, her dream job turns into a nightmare when the publishers decide to bring on bawdy celeb Bebe Blake, who quickly sends the magazine to ruin with her temper, bossiness, and lack of publishing know-how. What's more, back stabbing and gossip thwart Maggie's success at every turn. Too many oddly inserted characters and a bland romantic subplot make the story clunky and detract from an otherwise interesting peek at the magazine publishing world. But this is sure to generate massive publicity, and fans of Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Pradawill snatch it up, so public libraries will want to purchase accordingly. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/06.]
Dedicated editor-in-chief's brilliant career goes into a tailspin after a flamboyant celebrity takes over her magazine, a plot that mirrors the litigious saga of Rosie (i.e., O'Donnell) magazine, to which former McCall's editor Koslow bore witness. Magnolia Gold might have been born Maggie Goldfarb in Fargo, N.D., but years in the magazine industry have polished her into an elegant Manhattanite who welcomes every day as chief tastemaker for Lady magazine. Sure, the somewhat staid women's title could use a redesign, and that is exactly what Magnolia has planned when the word comes down from corporate that her beloved Lady is being transformed into Bebe, after popular, opinionated talk-show host Bebe Blake. Never mind that plus-sized, foulmouthed Bebe knows nothing about magazines, her addition is assumed to be an opportunity for the company to "mint money" and Magnolia is summarily demoted to a smaller office where she is called upon to execute Bebe's vision, even if that includes an NRA-friendly cover shot that alienates the readership. The capricious Bebe is an unprofessional nightmare who shows up drunk to her own launch party and at one point tries to seduce a young male intern, but she is also capable of big-hearted surprise gestures, such as when she "gives" British actor Hugh Grant to Magnolia for her birthday. And as difficult as Magnolia's position is, it is her oily CEO Jock Flanagan who really gives her trouble-ultimately firing her after she rejects his adulterous advances. Our unemployed heroine is then left to ponder her future as she fights for money owed her by her former corporate overlords, while simultaneously navigating her way through the tricky waters of dating.Perched on the sidelines, she then has a perfect view of the bittersweet dissolution of Lady/Bebe, and is forced to choose between the lesser of two evils when both Jock and Bebe call on her to testify in competing lawsuits against each other. Koslow's zippy prose ably captures the manic intensity and not-always-glamorous world of New York magazines-even if classy Magnolia and her so-so love life are a bit of a snooze. Far more intriguing is the flawed maverick Bebe. Breezy glimpse into the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of modern celebrity culture and the women's-magazine business.
"Merlington is a seasoned narrator who expertly providescharacters with individual voices.... Merlington's ability to reflect the humorous moments adds to listener enjoyment." Booklist