The Swans of Fifth Avenue


A few months ago, I got a text saying the used bookstore was having a buy 2 get 2 free sale.  So, naturally, I bundled up and went.  When I got to the counter with my stack of 10+ books, I saw that they were offering free advanced copies of books to decide if their store should buy them.  I took a look at the books and one stuck out to me.  It had a BEAUTIFUL fashion cover, so of course it interested me and I took it.  When I opened it up this week to begin reading it, I saw that it had been PERSONALLY signed by the author, Melanie Benjamin (wrote The Aviator’s Wife).  This was no stamp.  It was permanent marker signed.  Anyways, that excited me.

I started reading this book and I AM HOOKED!  It is about life in the 1950-1975 era in “elite” Manhattan.  It follows an author and the women he deems as “his swans” (prestigious, rich, beautiful, and married to very famous and rich men).  The book focuses on one swan in particular (his “lead swan”), Babe Paley.  It tells her story and quite fascinating it is.  It also tells the story of her husband, Bill Paley (the founder of the CBS station).  Lovely and slightly tragic story they have.

Babe Paley is a beyond fascinating character.  Everything about her fascinates me.  I have to keep reading it to find out more about her.  To find out who she really is beneath all the makeup and Chanel/Dior suits.  She is seen as perfect.  Perfect clothes, makeup, hair, teeth, body, etc.  She has the “perfect husband.”  Together they make a “perfect couple.”  Yet, she is so lonely.  She is seen by thousands and never goes unnoticed in a room.  Yet, she is lonely.  I so relate to her.  Loved by people she doesn’t even know, but not loved and cherished by those closest to her heart.  She is truly an interesting, charming, and delightful character.

The language used in a book is something I usually don’t praise.  But, the language used in this book deserves so much praise.  It is FLAWLESS, as it flows right off the page.  It creates delightful sensations in the brain.  Much like eating a sweet and gooey chocolate truffle (you know..the ones with thousands of calories, but are too rich and good to put down that one just can’t stop at one- much like how one can’t stop on one page with this book).  I can’t get enough of how the author uses language in this book (obviously, this shows that I get turned on by the use of good language).  It is quite comparable to how I feel about Fitzgerald’s works.  NO BODY usually comes even remotely close to how I feel about Fitzgerald.  Congrats to this author!  She did it!  She’s the first author to achieve this ranking in my point of view.

I will post more reviews of this book when I am done reading it, but it is so good that I just HAD to write about it before I finished it.  So far it’s a 5/5 on my rating scale.  Right up there with Good Ole Fitzgerald.  Without a doubt, I am now going to have to go and read The Aviator’s Wife.  I may have just started a love affair with this author’s writing style.


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