Marion Zane is the top Trophy—she has it all: a faithful husband, loyal fellow-Trophy girlfriends, queen-bee status over the Hollywood "name-above-the-title" charities, and—best of all—no prenup!
She knows inside information is king, smiles hide jealousy, jackals lure husbands away (or, worse, steal personal assistants), housekeepers have the power to destroy, and that everyone has devastating secrets—including her! It's why she refuses to gossip yet remembers everything.
So why is she so nervous?
Maybe it's because, after years of unchallenged social position, Marion forgets that in L.A., even enemies embrace—especially ones disguised as girlfriends. When she impulsively champions building a much-needed trauma center hospital downtown, Marion breaks the unwritten code by stepping on another Trophy's charity turf. It's a fatal mistake.
Her furious and jealously bitter "girlfriend" joins forces with a powerful mystery partner to destroy Marion. Drugged and framed as unfaithful and insane, she loses her dream life in one lurid, unforgivable humiliation.
Abandoned by her husband, her deepest secrets exposed, Marion is left shattered and literally penniless in paradise. Determined to build the hospital and regain her love, lifestyle, and dermatologist, Marion goes to hilarious lengths to hide her newfound poverty from even her closest friends, living out of her luxury car and using Magic Marker for eyeliner as she raises hospital funding at five-star restaurants.
Fortunately, Marion's loyal, lusty Trophy girlfriends discover her condition through her overwhelmed maid and come to her rescue, employing ferocious manipulation skills, ridiculous logic, and much-needed dermabrasion. Redirecting the same competitive hyperdrive that won the rocks on their fingers, the girls make Marion their new project even as they deal with their own crises.
Still, all the Trophy support in the world might not be able to stop Marion from betraying one of them; then her mystery enemy is revealed and she's given the choice of re-enthronement or vilification. After all, she's a survivor and didn't become Marion Zane by fair play alone.
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About the Author
Heather Thomas starred as Jody Banks in TV's The Fall Guy from 1981 to 1986. She left acting in 1998 to pursue a screenwriting career. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Read an Excerpt
The bar crystal was wrong. It had cuts. Marion fingered the rocks glass and figured it was probably from the Tiffany set. And she didn't need to wear her glasses to recognize the Buccellati ice bucket, which meant that the whole shebang was way too much—the biggest mistake you could make at a political event. Donors like to think every penny of their money is going into boots-on-the-ground media campaigns for the average working Joe and other rolled-up-sleeves stuff. This bar said the pope and Queen Elizabeth were coming over to burn dollar bills. (Yeah, yeah, you could choke on the irony.) There was also that McCain-Lieberman-thing law about not spending too much. Bottom line: it was wrong.
People would notice and talk.
(And she'd be a target.)
Marion felt the ghost of an all-too-familiar yip in her stomach.
(Oh, no you don't.)
This was totally fixable.
"Yes, Mrs. Zane?" said a soft German voice at her elbow.
Marion almost knocked over the portable bar. You'd think that after fifteen years, she'd be used to her assistant's spooky habit of appearing before she could even speak his name, but it still jigged the bejesus out of her. The foyer was the size of a small church with vaulted ceilings and freakin' marble floors. How'd he sneak up so quietly in hard soles?
Ivan's James Bond face was neutral, but she could feel him smirking on the inside as he offered her her reading glasses. Eerie. At least he wasn't in a tux.
From the first day she'd met him, Marion had always imagined Ivan in anadvertisement for expensive shirts (or on cheery days, expensive underwear). His sculpted good looks, perfect grooming, grace, and efficiency led everyone to assume, at first, that he was gay. For a while every rich, gay power player in town was descending on the Zane compound, armed with fictitious reasons to speak with "Marion's Aryan."
He never, though, responded to their entreaties. Yet, she realized, Ivan didn't respond to any of Marion's trampier girlfriends' advances either. Nowadays she just regarded him as a preternatural, asexual being and wrote off his sixth sense about dress as part of the package.
"We gotta dull this down," she told him. "Where's Jeff?"
"Here, Mrs. Zane," a voice promptly answered, and Jeff, her tuxedoed (yikes) majordomo, came bustling in, trailed ten paces by a silent six-year-old boy who was doing his best to appear invisible.
"Okay, it's a political event, so on all the bars: plain crystal instead of cut—use that Baccarat; plain silver bar accessories, plain cocktail linens, not jacquard—use that French set, plain serving trays, quiet flowers. Jeff, way too dashing in the tux. Just coat and tie, like Ivan, and shirtsleeves and bow for waitstaff. You guys know how to do this."
Jeff shot a look at Ivan.
"What?" Marion asked.
Jeff hesitated. "Mr. Zane said to use the good stuff."
"Ah, Jeffery, there are about twenty different sets of crystal in the basement."
"Right, but in my husband's mind, we've got two: jelly jars and 'good stuff.' Warn me the next time he wants to take a hand in choosing the dishes. I'm sorry you had to drag this up."
Jeff smiled and bounced a nod. He got it. She wouldn't have to explain it again. "I'll change everything right away, Mrs. Zane," he said.
Jeff gasped as he spotted the boy leaning on one of the Louis XVI gilt and alabaster console tables and started to shoo him back to the kitchen.
"Is that Peter?" Marion asked.
"Um, yes, Mrs. Zane. I apologize, but Karen had to work . . ."
Marion whipped off her readers, walked over to the boy, and squatted so as not to freak him out. Good thing she was in her uniform of jeans, a white shirt, and bare feet. If she'd been glammed, he'd probably have recoiled. "Hey, I'm Marion. You met me when you were three. Your parents let you watch cartoons?"
The boy looked at his father's raised eyebrow, then made the sign for "a little" with his fingers.
"What's your favorite?"
"SpongeBob," he whispered.
Marion nodded. "I've got that. C'mon."
She took him by the hand. He came without pulling.
"Mrs. Zane, you don't have to . . ."
"Please. At least there'll be one person in this house tonight who isn't bored to tears."
Marion led the boy out of the foyer, toward the north wing. She watched his head tilt up as they passed the Rodin bronze. Twelve feet tall and armored with defiant breasts and wide hips, the nude made a formidable guard before the carved stone archway to the family wing.
"Caught ya lookin'."
The boy giggled.
As she set Peter up before the giant flat screen and called for juice and popcorn, Marion had to admit she was kind of pissed at Richard's latest request: "Honey, I need you to give a reception on Thursday for a Senate candidate. He wants something intimate. Use your good list."
Translation: she had less than five days to round up no fewer than fifty (campaign manager's idea of "intimate") billionaires, tastemakers, and A-list movie stars who would probably donate to a newcomer.
That she'd done it in four was beside the point.
Did her husband think she just pulled these people out of her butt?
And here she was ragging on the finest staff in the world about bar stuff. All so Richard could seduce and place some millionaire-who-was-bought-out-of-his-company-but-still-wanted-to-wield into a position to change some law. It had to be zoning because Richard already had the media consolidation thing locked. That, coupled with above-normal libidinal demands, could mean only one thing:
Richard was building again.
Land development did the same thing for her husband as scrapbooking did for grandmas. He was always happiest when he had a project. Richard had made his first millions in land development. It was sentimental creativity.Trophies. Copyright © by Heather Thomas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
What People are Saying About This
“A terrific beach read…dishy tale!”
“In this celebrity-driven culture, you probably think you know this world. You don’t. Not until your read this delightful and insightful first novel by Heather Thomas.”
“It’s not chick-lit, it’s broad-lit!”
“Made me laugh out loud...ironic, smart and surprisingly touching.”
“You’ll love the fearless, powerful women in Trophies—flawlessly draped in Vera Wang, manicured hands pushing buttons while scratching their way to the top—the secret power brokers of Los Angeles. Heather Thomas has written a stiletto-heel-sharp satiric romp.”
Tell us about the premise of the novel, because the world at large has definite preconceived notions about that a Trophy wife is?
Our society already has made a stereotype of the second wife and "evil" step-mother, which strikes me as funny because almost half of the marriages in America are second marriages. Which means a good portion of the married women in this country are second wives.
Now the stereotypical image of the Trophy wife is worse: a gold-digging bimbo draped across the arm of a foolish older man. This is an almost knee-jerk perception attributed to any second or third (or fourth) wife of a billionaire and is a totally permissible prejudice in our Shadenfreude-fueled culture. In my experience, which is mainly 25 years of industry socializing and fundraising for political and philanthropic actions, I have yet to find one billionaire wife who fits that stereotype. Every woman is of course, unique and different and the circumstances that contextualize their lives are myriad but as a group, wealthy second wives are not sitting home eating bon-bons or shopping. They're taking action towards making the world a better place for better or worse, depending on their agendas. In other words, these women are using power as status and self-worth; creating hospitals, schools, social change, political change, creating philanthropic organizations, running foundations, business, institutions, etc. Who else has the time money and power to really make things happen?
Every non-profit in existence is dependent on these women for launching and sustainability. They direct something like 78% of all donated monies in America. So while everybody is busypointing smug fingers and feeling superior, these women are rolling merrily along, doing their thing, which very well could be saving our health or changing our legislation. Now take that and couple it with mondo-money and strong personalities and beyond hyper-drive competitiveness and it gets pretty wacky. I mean there is incredible competition for these rich husbands amongst certain women. They all have game. What do they do with that drive once they grab the brass ring? Who would they be and what value would they have for themselves if that wealth abruptly evaporated? What is status and is it essential to self-worth? Those are the creative questions that were interesting for me as an artist. Is the perceived evil truly evil? Acting taught me that I can empathize with any human being so I did. Trophies is sort of a Wicked for second wives.
The women in Trophies are enormously influential with the charities they run. Did your own charity experience come into play with the writing?
Absolutely! An unmined vein of pure gold. Just consider any elementary school Mother's Committee - now imagine them all with unlimited wealth and unrelenting competitive drive.
You have worked as a screenwriter previously. How does writing a book compare to writing a screenplay?
A screenplay is a map for actors, directors, cameramen and crew. You give what is seen on the screen only and even that will be re-interpreted because the finished product is a hugely collaborative effort. A book is a world complete in itself. There are no actors or music or lighting or framing or editing to show what a character is thinking. It all has to be on the page. It was a really weird transition but like all mediums, once I got the hang of it I found freedom. I believe good screenwriting by nature, is technically harder but the marathon of writing a novel is more grueling and takes much more dedication and sacrifice.
What were your friends'/families' reactions to the novel? Did they think it was an accurate depiction of this world?
All my girlfriends not only loved the book, they've all tried to get me drunk so I'll confess who inspired which character. Several are certain they are the sole inspiration for the character of Marion. But so far, nobody has laid claim to Lyndy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very good book for a weekend escape.
usually i NEVER write a review. despite reading reviews on books i buy, i typically am neutral after finishing it. but this? i have no words to describe my frustration on how much time i lost trying to follow the plot and finish this novel. there was a ridiculous amount of unnecessary crap that the author could have DEFINITELY cut out. i just....i don't know. i'm at a loss of words at how poorly put together this book was, especially with the grammar and the FAILED attempt at pepper's southern accent. made me want to shoot myself and finish the book asap for the sake of making my money's worth on the purchase
Fun easy read
I was looking forward to reading this. The reviews are "Heather Thomas is the new Jackie Collins" NOT! I am only 40 pages in and I am bored. It doesn't flow. You have to keep asking, "Who is the person?" If you want Glamour, Sex and Glitz read the real Jackie Collins, JJ Salem and Tilly Bagshawe.
Definitely a fun book with a lot of crazy characters. Would recommend to friends for sure! And I agree, I think would be a great movie!
This story is not new, but it is told sharply with bigger than life characters. It is a fast read and the ending is to be savored. This would make a great TV movie for any network. What woman does not like shopping, money, gossip and lots of drama? I would call this chicklit for sure and if you want to escape your surroundings without noise and commercials...this is it.
Loved it! The main character, Marion Zane is a modern-day heroine. In addition to being at the center of an elite group of wealthy, high-powered women referred to as trophies, Marion is at the top of her game. Behind the beauty and brains, Marion has a heart of gold. As Marion makes plans to build a much-needed hospital, an anonymous adversary from Marion's past devises and puts in place a deviously heinous plan to de-thrown Marion and ruin her life. After losing her husband, her home and her billions, Marion continues to persevere and maintain her dignity. In the end, Marion's friends remain true to her and stand behind her 'for richer or poorer'. Throughout the novel, the bawdy antics of the 'trophies' will keep you laughing and cheering! You won't be disappointed! I certainly hope Heather writes a sequel because I can't wait to see what the 'trophies' are up to next...
Smart, sarcastic and laugh-out loud funny. The women of Trophies' world are major pistols ...
This book was so clever and entertaining from the get go. It was a peek inside the lives of Hollywoods elite, and what a life it is. Designer bags to go with designer studs. I only wished I had been lying on a tropical beach or poolside for the read. Summer, sand, sex and scandal go so well with a Pina Coloda. I loved the characters in this book! They were over the top and fun. Move over Jackie Collins Heather Thomas is in town.
Trophies is one of those books you just can't put down! The book delves into the lives of Hollywood wives in a way that gives the reader a true grasp of what really goes down. Not just the power of the second wives club, but how information is currency in a town where everyone is struggling to stay on top. Heather Thomas is both fearless and flawless in her portrayal of what happens in Hollywood. A must read! I couldn't wait to get home to get back to it each night!
I just finished reading Trophies, by actress/author Heather Thomas, a book that I found myself completely immersed in from the first chapter until the end. The story takes place in Los Angeles, specifically Hollywood, and the 'trophies' are the wealthy and famous second wives of powerful movers-and-shakers, women who use their position, power and wealth to influence not only political parties and Hollywood deals, but also things like charities. The main character, Marion, is the 'Queen B' of the group, and enjoys the best of everything, loving family, loyal friends, the best charities under her belt etc., however she knows that things in the world that she runs in are not always what they may seem to be on the surface, and that sometimes a little insider information can be the most powerful tool of all--sometimes that information can also end up as a weapon. Things take a major turn when there is a clash over a charity project, and Marion finds herself on the outside looking in, with everything she once had gone, virtually overnight. The events that follow are pretty incredible, taking you through a range of emotions as you laugh at some of the situations she finds herself in, but also feel her pain as she experiences one humility after another. Of course, Marion is not one to stay down, and becomes determined to see her project through, despite her circumstances and the odds. Will she learn from her experience? Will she triumph? Will she get those who done her wrong? You will have to read the book to find out. Trophies is definitely hilarious reading material, with plenty of catty and juicy content to keep you turning the pages, and as Ms. Thomas lives the life she is writing about 'perhaps not to the extremes her characters do' there is keen insight into the world of glitz, glamour and high profile fundraising that the average person is not privvy too. Underneath it all however, Trophies is a genuinely warm and touching story about human nature, spirit and perseverance. Highly recommended.
Finally! A book with multiple characters, tangled liaisons, affairs, gossip, sex, cheating - and is over 300 pages. I had long thought the era of densely plotted and written books ended around 1990. This book proves me wrong! Heather Thomas (remember her from 'The Fall Guy'?) has written a fun book and actually manages to make the characters human. I am so glad I stumbled upon this book when I did. I recommend it highly!