Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Flight Up by Susan Fales-Hill

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
After years of searching for and finally landing that one perfect man, four Manhattan friends find themselves simultaneously questioning their romantic choices. Smart, strong, but jaded divorce lawyer India Chumley leads this pack of feisty thirty-somethings, all friends since grade school at Sibley Academy, an Upper East Side institution for sophisticated ladies-in-training.

There’s Abby Rosenfeld Adams, a Jewish gallery owner married to her Wasp college sweetheart, Monique Dawkins-Dubois, gynecologist and card carrying member of Harlem’s thriving Buppie-ocracy, and Esme Santiago Talbot, a Columbian heiress married to the All-American boy next door. When India, the most straight-laced of them all, learns that her friends are considering straying from their partners, she is dismayed. That is, until India’s ex-fiance, the love of her life, the destroyer of her heart, and the best sex ever, comes back into her life – and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.

As of lately, I have really started to love the chick-lit genre. The books always tend to be fun, light reads for the most part and sometimes that's just what I need in a book. Therefore, when I was offered the chance to read and review Susan Fales-Hill's One Flight Up, I jumped at the chance. However, while I found the book to be well written and the storylines to be enticing and intriguing, I wasn't always the biggest fan of the characters presented.

One Flight Up tells the story of longtime friends India, Abby, Esme, and Monique, four girls who have stuck through it all since their past school days at the elite Manhattan's Sibley School for Girls. However, as of lately, everything is starting to became a bit chaotic. India is attempting to decide between two very different men, the kind and sweet Julian or the broody, sexy Keith. Bored in her own marriage, Esme has taken to stepping out on her husband to gain the thrill and suspense she craves, while sweet and timid Abby is dealing with her husband's long-time infidelity and her own feelings for a new man. Last but not least, Monique, a recent addition to the girl's inner circle, is dealing with her own seemingly disastrous marriage, hoping that a fling may provoke the feelings she's been craving. Jumping into their own affairs and deceit, all four women begin to see the pros and, most importantly, the cons of their infidelity. However, will they be able to save their marriages as well as their own wellbeing and reputation before it's too late? Only more time and pages will tell in this scandalous new read!

First, I have to say that I was quite impressed with Susan Fales-Hill's writing and overall storytelling in this. She did a fantastic job of switching between narrators in a way that allowed each woman's story to be developed thoroughly even with the limited page time. I also enjoyed how she took the reader on a ride through New York as well as Paris in this, allowing the setting to develop as the story continued to build as well.

However, I have to admit out right, I barely liked the characters in this one, and that's where One Flight Up began to fail in my eyes. Esme, Abby, Monique, and India are all very interesting and diverse woman, but their actions as well as decisions were disastrous and not very likable. You see, all four woman to do one thing that annoyed and irritated me to one end: instead of communicating with their spouse/partner about their worries and concerns about their relationship/marriage, they took to using affairs as a quick and easy alternative. That just struck a point in me, because while I wanted to like these women, I had one little problem: I didn't truly respect them. Sure, they had glamorous and admirable lives and jobs, but at the end of the day they were lost in a way that really didn't make me feel for them; sometimes I didn't even really want to root for them to overcome their troubles. While they did face the music eventually and become a little more likable (especially Abby), in some ways I felt it was a bit too late.

In all, I'm undecided about it, because while the writing and world building was fabulous, the characters weren't always my favorite. However, I still will be reading more by Susan based on her writing alone and I highly recommend this one to fans of the chick-lit genre, specifically ones who enjoy shows like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.

Grade: B 

One Flight Up is now available in paperback!

Source: Publicist at Simon and Schuster- thanks Christina!

Video in which Susan discusses the book:


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