This Chick Read: Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renée Rosen

Two young women’s lives intersect in 1938 New York during the Great Recession, Gloria Downing, whose father had just been caught swindling money from his clients, and Estée Lauder a young woman selling face cream in the beauty parlor where Gloria finds a job. They strike up a friendship and each of them pursue careers in the beauty industry although on slightly different paths. Estée takes on the beauty moguls Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden while Gloria works her way into the back offices of Saks Fifth Avenue, while staying friends through thick and thin.

This historical novel takes on the rise of Estée Lauder into the beauty icon that her brand has become today. The story covers her many relationships and marriage to her long time live Joe and is based on fact but is also fictionalized to create and interest story. Contrasting her tale with the story of a young woman on her own for the first time while also dealing with the betrayal from her father and family was smart. Each had to have strength and fortitude to strike out on their own and create these lives during a time when jobs were scarce and women were not treated as equals. It was a really interesting read!

I think for me that even though the story and historical time frame was interesting neither of these characters were particularly likable. Estée was single minded and although married, divorced, and then married again to her husband Joe carried on with other men and ultimately her brand and building her business superseded her family life. Joe was so likable that it was hard to see him get walked all over by this strong-willed woman. Gloria had a LOT of daddy issues and viewed all men with distrust, and herself with weakness. Despite overcoming her upbringing she built a career, which was admirable, yet I still couldn’t connect with her character. I wished that Gloria was a little more likable to balance out Estée’s strong-willed personality. Although I totally understood where each of their characters were coming from it just would have made the story slightly easier to read.

If you like historical novels that mix fact and fiction this might be a novel you would be interested in reading. It does give a very interesting take on how women worked to keep the country moving during WWI, and the friendship between Gloria and Estée was both strong and giving. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl is a solid novel with two interesting views of this time in history. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review and it was honest!

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