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3.5 out of 5 stars24
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2013
I'm not a big fan of 'chick-lit' always having to force myself to solider through when my local book club requires I read it. I wasn't expecting much, loathing sex in the city with my entire being. But I was surprised to find myself enchanted by this book, firstly because the traditional love story takes a back seat and it focuses far more on the characters as a whole, no character was a 'ditzy, clumsy but deserving heroine' rather each had their own thoughts, flaws and ideas of the world, each was capable of seeming stupidity to the reader and each was capable of being cunning or scheming. Each character has their own justifications for each action and like within real life don't do it simply to be 'cruel' or 'evil' which I believe is a big failing in many other novels but rather because they totally agree with the course of action of the time.
I especially enjoyed Lola as a true reflection of what some people are very willing to do to become 'high society' for me the scenes in which she was included where the most fun as though you hated her for everything she represents, its undeniable you feel twinges of pity knowing she's taken on a game much larger than herself.
The characters react differently and act differently to everybody you are introduced to and while some plots can seem a little far fetched it's written in a way that you could believe somebody would do such an act.
Overall I enjoyed the book and have read it more than once, it's a fun, simple-ish read, which you can read again and again and one I would very much recommend.
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VINE VOICEon 16 March 2009
One Fifth Avenue is the swankiest apartment building in Manhattan. All the best people live there, and as for everyone else, well, they want to live there. Money isn't everything, however, you must have status to get in there too - the residents wouldn't let just anyone live there. So when Louise Houghton dies and leaves an enormous apartment empty, the fun really begins. There's talk of breaking the property up into smaller properties, joining it to other apartment and so on. That is, until Paul and Annalisa Rice move in. They've got the money, the status and the looks. They're a young, filthy rich couple who quickly become 'somebodies' on the social scene. But not everyone is impressed. Paul's arrogant and thinks nothing but money talks, so he quickly gets people's backs up, leaving the lovely Annalisa to smooth things over.

The arrival of the Rices isn't the only change in One Fifth - long-lost residents make a reappearance, new residents tag themselves onto current ones, and so on. The once-peaceful and law-abiding building is becoming somewhat of a shambles. The neighbours are fighting, sabotaging, cheating on partners... you name it, it starts to happen.

The long-standing residents are not happy and quickly try to rectify matters. But things get much, much worse before they get better...

Overall, One Fifth Avenue is middle of the road. It doesn't have the smart, sassy and hilarious characters of Sex and the City, but it does have characters from lots of different backgrounds, with very different lives. Their apartment block is the only thing that unites them. Other than that, they're pretty unremarkable. There's lots (and lots) of talk about how wonderful New York is, and many references to the way of life in the city, to the extent it got a little dull. It just felt like the book was just another way to brag about how ace New York is, and it sacrificed what could have been a clever novel. I felt it had too many characters to really get to know and care about them all, too many interwoven plots and too many pages. It would have benefited from being much shorter. It wasn't a book I felt compelled to keep picking up - it just dragged on too long and didn't really absorb me. And for those reasons I'd say it was OK. Not terrible, not great, just - as they say - very, 'meh.'
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on 12 November 2008
What I like about Candace Bushnell's writing is the way she goes into her character's heads and describes all the nasty little thoughts they have all the time. Often, many protagonists are quite pathetic, like in "Trading Up", and here with Lola. One Fifth drags you into the glamourous NY, but through the back door. Bushnell gives you the impression that you get to know a part of the NY society, but without the make up. The only thing that makes me keep away 1 star is that the story is a bit slow in the middle.
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on 29 December 2010
this is my fave read from candace bushnell, a fun insight of the rich and the wannabees in nyc! i could not put this book down.
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on 8 November 2008
I bought this book for some light reading and it for that it served its purpose just fine.I must admit I haven't read anything else by Candace Bushnell so I cannot be sure if this is the style she adopts in all of her books; however, I found the writing to be impersonal, cold and it didn't move me at all. I also disliked all the characters, Lola especially got on my nerves with her sole ambition being to 'climb' New York high society and make a name for herself. Furthermore, many scenes describing a more intimate nature were written in such a forced clinical manner, that I found myself cringing at various points. I suggest you buy this if you just want an inconsequential read, somthing to read for the sake of reading, but don't expect too much. I recommend any book by Marian Keyes a million times more, they are funnier and superbly written!
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on 11 October 2008
I bought this book on a whim, needing a pick me up on a cold and dreary weekend. I wasn't sure if Bushnell could deliver the goods, but this novel was genuinely enjoyable. She's created an interesting little story and filled it with a mix of likable and not so likable characters. While her insight into New York society seems slightly dated, in spite of the many new media references, her passion for the city shines through as she manages to capture both its glorious history and the never-ending struggle for success.

This book won't put any demands on you as a reader, but it will help to while away a few hours.
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on 11 September 2009
Utterly divine! Wonderfully fabulous...

One Fifth Avenue is a novel as good as the Avenue itself. No one beats Candace Bushnell when it comes to describing New York. Beautifully written, One Fifth Avenue is a must-read to everyone who enjoys a written chronic of reality and New York customs. From the first moment, I read the Prologue, I knew, right away, that, once finishing the book, I'd read it again and again. Not only did I read it another few dozen times, but also it is my bedside table. Now I'm expecting for the next upcoming novel which will replace One Fifth Avenue on my bedside table. I'm a tough novel reader and I have the dare to say thar One Fifth Avenue is twice as good as Sex and the City. Don't misjudge me, I would also give 5 stars to the latter, but One Fifth Avenue is compulsively addicting.

Isn't the cover amazing? If you think so, prepare to open the book, and be delighted by the whole plot, so wisely studied and constructed that the lives described seem to have existed in time and space. Read it with a martini next you, for you will feel like one of the characters of One fifth Avenue. I think each and everyone of us has a little bit of Mindy Gooch inside ourselves. I, for one, felt impelled to create my own blog too! Lola Fabrikant is impossibly shalow and sweet Billy Litchfield the friend everyone of us wanted to have. There is also the fairytale princess of the story, Miss Annalisa Rice, so passionate and kind that we wish we were in her shoes.

The words written have life. The plot hidden has soul. It is rather difficult to find life and soul conjugated in one single book! I've found it while reading One Fifth Avenue! If I could, I'd pack my things and leave right away to this fabulous building. Intrigues, fashion, fame, success and even decay...all written without boundaries. There is also a lot of mysteries going on. What happened to the well-known cross of Bloody Mary? High-society has never been written in quite a similar way.

Candace Bushnell, you are quite a big deal! Wit, drama, passion, romance and "La vie en rose" all mixed up in a addicting cosmopolitan novel, One Fifth Avenue. A must-read, a must-have, this book will look good in your beautiful hands, especially if you've just had a nail-polishing and you're wearing Christian Laboutin high-heeled shoes.

Claudio J.N. Silva, compulsive reader and who has just finised his upcoming novel!
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on 10 January 2009
In an Art Deco building in one of Manhattan's oldest and most hip neighborhoods, a conclave of fictional Manhattanites reside; they are a mix of old and new money, a power-hungry and socially eager group that will do almost anything to maintain their residences - and hence, their social positions - in this piece of real estate that represents so much more to each of them.

Thus begins the tale of One Fifth Avenue.

First, we meet some of the elder residents - those who have the respect of the others. We meet Louise Houghton, who has been in the building for more than thirty years - and is nearly 100 years old - who occupies the penthouse apartment that hovers like three tiers on a wedding cake, above all the others. Then we see Enid Merle, whose apartment on the thirteenth floor is the best (after the penthouse, of course) and is next to her nephew Philip Oakland, a writer. She, too, is elderly.

Louise and Enid are the historians for the place, and know "where all the bodies are buried".

Schiffer Diamond, an actress, has primarily lived in LA for the past several years, but after obtaining a part in a TV series, she returns to her small unit at One Fifth Avenue.

Billy Litchfield resides on lower Fifth Avenue and has little money. However, he acts as a kind of concierge to the very rich, and thus has entrée into the soirees and special events attended by the very rich. He is in and out of One Fifth Avenue, mixing with the residents as if he belongs.

On the very bottom floor, Mindy and James Gooch reside, with their 13-year-old computer-whiz of a son. Theirs is a cramped unit with a series of box-like rooms - they were formerly luggage space - but Mindy Gooch is the head of the board for the cooperative apartment building. She wields some power in enforcing the rules and keeping out the unsavory potential
residents. But the residents shun her and exclude her from the social events.

When Louise Houghton dies unexpectedly - strangely put, since she is so old, but everyone expected her to live forever - her prime penthouse apartment is "up for grabs".

Enter Paul and Annalisa Rich, the new rich - he is a hedge fund billionaire and she, a former attorney - and more drama begins.

When the Rices buy the penthouse for 20 million, they are welcomed - at first. Then a series of events, coupled with Paul Rice's arrogant and paranoid behavior, lead to a warring of various factions, until in the end, everyone wants Paul out. He, on the other hand, with his money, greed and power, hopes to eliminate the others.

Mixed with various romances and the sexually-charged liaisons of the characters, we have a dramatic tale of power and lust gone mad.

What will happen to ultimately tip the balance of power and who will end up reigning? What sabotage will finally lead to tragedy, and who will end up paying the highest price?

These characters, richly drawn and compelling, remind us of Bushnell's other works - Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle - and their antics kept me turning the pages eagerly until the final act.

Laurel-Rain Snow
Author of:
Web of Tyranny, etc.
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on 6 March 2011
One of Candace Bushnell better books. It made me want to be in New York and be a part of the glamour. Not much happens in it though.
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on 25 July 2011
I really didn't like this book. The pace was very slow, the characters flat.. I had a hard time finishing this book.
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