The Pretty One
The Pretty One
A Novel about Sisters
Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316213554, 305pp.
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Perfect. Pretty. Political. For nearly forty years, The Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson-namely, Imperia (Perri), Olympia (Pia), and Augusta (Gus)--have played the roles set down by their loving but domineering mother Carol. Perri, a mother of three, rules her four-bedroom palace in Westchester with a velvet fist, managing to fold even fitted sheets into immaculate rectangles. Pia, a gorgeous and fashionable Chelsea art gallery worker, still turns heads after becoming a single mother via sperm donation. And Gus, a fiercely independent lawyer and activist, doesn't let her break-up from her girlfriend stop her from attending New Year's Day protests on her way to family brunch.
But the Hellinger women aren't pulling off their roles the way they once did. Perri, increasingly filled with rage over the lack of appreciation from her recently unemployed husband Mike, is engaging in a steamy text flirtation with a college fling. Meanwhile Pia, desperate to find someone to share in the pain and joy of raising her three-year-old daughter Lola, can't stop fantasizing about Donor #6103. And Gus, heartbroken over the loss of her girlfriend, finds herself magnetically drawn to Jeff, Mike's frat boy of a little brother. Each woman is unable to believe that anyone, especially her sisters, could understand what it's like to be her. But when a freak accident lands their mother to the hospital, a chain of events is set in motion that will send each Hellinger sister rocketing out of her comfort zone, leaving her to wonder: was this the role she was truly born to play?
With The Pretty One, author Lucinda Rosenfeld does for siblings what she did for female friendship in I'm So Happy for You, turning her wickedly funny and sharply observant eye on the pleasures and punishments of lifelong sisterhood.
"Rosenfeld does do a stellar job of developing each personality, and the characters remain true to their nature throughout."
"Although the novel's twists and turns are entertaining, it's the sisters' realistic swings from jealousy to unity that make it compelling.Once again, the author of I'm So Happy for You portrays women with insight."
"A witty character study of that contentious organism: sisterhood."
"Lucinda Rosenfeld perfectly captures the intricacies of sisterhood in this hilarious and perceptive tale of one family's quest to 'get along'. . . I absolutely loved this novel!"
-Emily Giffin, author of Something Borrowed and Where We Belong
"Although accomplished adults, the Hellinger sisters remain quick to judge each other and sometimes grapple with jealousy and resentment. Their relationships are tested when their mother winds up in the hospital, but Rosenfeld shows, with humor and charm, that these familial bonds are strong enough to withstand even the most trying circumstances."
-Samantha Samel, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
"In this impish new novel from the author of I'm So Happy For You, three sisters who have grown up cranky and competitive are itching to shed the stereotypes they've always represented to one another and their parents.... By the time everything's resolved, you'll have come to love them in all their hilarious imperfection." 4-stars, People Pick
-Helen Rogan, People
-Emily Cooke, The New York Times Book Review
"With a light touch, Rosenfeld portrays the 'conspiratorial, even magical' relationship among sisters that makes failure to communicate all the more painful."
-The New Yorker
"Funny, biting, and unsentimental..."
-Judith Greenberg, Ph.D., Huffington Post