"What to wear for luncheon with Edwina? Nothing frivolous, nothing too showy. Black would be good. A color she never wore as a poor girl."

Bethel Sokoloff is the daughter of a lower-class tailor living in the Bronx who yearns to make something of her life. After her brother dies attempting to rob a deli, Bethel hits her breaking point and strikes out on her own. Though she has to get by in the world the way only a desperate woman can at first, she sees an opportunity to turn her fortunes around. After cosmetic surgery and a high-traffic job working as a saleswoman at Tiffany’s, Bethel reinvents her identity from the ground up as Bettina. With a made-up past and a practiced air, Bettina catches the eye of Dillworth Richardson who falls madly in love. Now married into high society, Bettina has everything she wants but finds herself burdened by both boredom and the paranoia that comes with living a lie.

Bettina’s lie is revealed to the reader in the second sentence of the book, and so with clever use of foreshadowing and switching occasionally to a new perspective (such as Dillworth’s suspecting mother or a con artist Bettina encounters), the reader is constantly on edge waiting for the other shoe to drop, even though that shoe changes as the story progresses. It is not a tiresome narrative mechanism, especially as Bettina dodges through suspicions and situations of her own devising. The author deftly balances what it takes to craft a new identity from the ground up, the person you claim to be, and the friendships that transcend that persona. Packed to the gills with drama, classic visions of metropolitan life, and a flawed cast of characters that become no less lovable for their mistakes, this novel is a suspenseful drama and series of romances that will have the reader hopeful for a peaceful resolution.

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