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From the nationally bestselling author of "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls "comesa story of 1950s Texas socialites and the one irresistible, controversial woman at the bright, hot center of it all.
Joan Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man who sees her seems to want her; every woman just wants to be her. But this is a highly ordered world of garden clubs and debutante balls. The money may flow as freely as the oil, but the freedom and power all belong to the men. What happens when a woman of indecorous appetites and desires like Joan wants more? What does it do to her best friend?
Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But as Joan s radical behavior escalates, Cece s perspective shifts forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.
A thrilling glimpse into the sphere of the rich and beautiful at a memorable moment in history, "The After Party "unfurls a story of friendship as obsessive, euphoric, consuming, and complicated as any romance."
*Starred Review* DiScalafani (The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, 2013) follows up her debut best-seller with another spellbinding historical novel, this time set in 1950s Texas. Cece and Joan have been best friends since kindergarten, growing up in the tony Houston neighborhood of River Oaks, saturated with oil money, marching toward the inevitable: debutante balls, women's college, Junior League, suitable marriages, and lives of respectable luxury. Narrated by Cece from an unspecified present day, The After Party is a lushly written novel of a symbiotic friendship. Cece's recollections of her relationship with the beautiful, rebellious socialite Joan over the years reveal the depths of her obsession. Cece has defined her own life in terms of her proximity to Joan, to the detriment of her own once happy marriage, fixed in place by a dark secret from their shared girlhood. The thick and clingy atmosphere, peppered with meticulously detailed descriptions of the day-to-day concerns of the midcentury moneyed class in Texas, paints an alluring portrait of the alcohol-soaked, seedy reality of high society, roiling just beneath the placid veneer of mannered respectability. Deliberate pacing and the hypnotic quality of DiScalafani's writing will entrance readers as the novel slowly burns toward a series of shocking revelations. Literary fans as well as those who enjoy historical and women's fiction will be delighted.--Szwarek, Magan Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publisher's Weekly Review
DiSclafani's second novel, following The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is an intriguing story about the complexities of female friendship and the intricate social hierarchy of Houston's oil elite in the 1950s. In a world focused on glamor and status, Joan Fortier has always been the center of attention, but no one loves her as much as her best friend, Cece. Friends since age five, Joan and Cece share a complicated past. Told from Cece's perspective, the narrative cuts back and forth between 1957, when they're in their mid-20s, and their adolescence, when Joan seems set up for the kind of privileged existence that Cece once assumed they both wanted-marriage, a family, and fancy parties. However, Joan seems to want more. To Cece, Joan seems vibrant and free, but it's not until later that she realizes no woman in this particular society, not even Joan, can completely escape the social limitations imposed by gender. The narrative sometimes succumbs to stereotypes, but the social milieu-and the attitudes that these women alternately embrace and rebel against-is vivid, and the relationship between Joan and Cece becomes increasingly compelling as the story progresses, resulting in a most memorable read. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, WME Entertainment. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Houston socialites and BFFs Cece -Buchanan and Joan Fortier have been the toast of River Oaks since their preschool days. With the 1950s in full swing and the girls in high school, Cece comes to live with the Fortiers after her mother dies. She acts as defender and constant companion for the willful, hard-partying Joan. When Joan abruptly skips the debutante ball to seek stardom in Hollywood, Cece is devastated but forges new friendships and begins dating her future husband, Ray. When Joan blows back into Houston, mysterious beau in tow and ready to step back into the Shamrock Hotel party scene, Cece senses that Joan is carrying secrets. As she adopts a predictable upper-class life of marriage, motherhood, and garden-club luncheons, can Cece balance Joan's burdens with her own? Best-selling author DiSclafani (The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls) paints a compelling picture of the ups and downs of longstanding female friendship set against the excesses and restraints of the Mad Men era. -VERDICT Readers' opinions will vary on whether the revelation of Joan's dark secret is satisfying, but such strongly wrought characters and attention to period setting and mores should enthrall most fan of novels of intricate relationships and society such as those by Mary McCarthy, -Rebecca Wells, Fannie Flagg, and Jill Connor Brown. [See Prepub Alert, 11/2/15.]- Jennifer B. -Stidham, Houston Community Coll. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.