Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Review: 'April Snow' by Lynn Steward

New York author Lynn Steward presents the second book in her Dana McGarry series of novels the deal with life in New York City in the 1970s. Lynn is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City's fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women's department at a famous men's clothing store.

Dana has that talent to carry a series along with the usual requisite reading of the initial book - `A Very Good Life ` - a book that established the personality and life style of Dana McGarry, a top flight fashion designer whose life is filled with the rich and famous of her fashion industry who became caught up in the speed of life with the personal sacrifices that accompany a position of that type. She does this by a gentle recap in Chapter One that subtly lets us know her, now on respite in London: `Dana McGarry, on vacation for the first time as a single woman, arrived at the Lansdowne Club at 9 Fitzmaurice Place, just steps from Berkeley Square, in London's fashionable Mayfair on the morning of April 8, 1975. Her lawyer had filed papers for a legal separation from her husband Brett in January, and after four months of being under the watchful eyes of well-meaning family and friends, Dana was savoring every moment of her solo trip across the pond. She and Brett had always stayed at the nearby Chesterfield Hotel, but her beloved Colony Club in New York City enjoyed reciprocity with the Lansdowne Club, where she'd previously attended lunches and lectures while her husband met with clients for his Wall Street law firm.' Such a refined capsulization as this is indicative of the style with which Dana writes.

Her summary condenses the plot: `At the cutting edge of women's fashion in the 1970s, a visionary young woman subdues her desire for love to remake retail at New York's most glamorous department store. Newly single, Dana McGarry learns she must divorce herself from more than a bad marriage to succeed. Not only must she prove to family and friends that she can make it on her own, but she also must challenge an antagonistic boss who keeps standing in her way. Moving out of her comfort zone and into the arms of dynamic businessman Mark, Dana bets it all on a daring new move that will advance her buying career, But at what price? Her dreams within reach, Dana's world is shattered in a New York minute when a life is threatened, a secret is revealed, and her heart is broken.'

For many this book will be considered chick lit and it serves that popular collection of books well. But there is more to the story than simply the shenanigans of the fashion industry and a woman's romantic life: this book resurfaces the particular idiosyncrasies of the 1970s and Dana's take on that time period is on target. She writes elegantly, and the series likely will continue to gather followers. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.