Book Review: Careers for Women

IMG_0721Title: Careers for Women
Author: Joanna Scott
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Little, Brown and Company: Maggie Gleason is looking toward the future. Part of a midcentury wave of young women seeking new lives in New York City, Maggie works for legendary Port Authority public relations maven Lee K. Jaffe–affectionately known to her loyal staff as Mrs. J. Having left Cleveland, Maggie has come to believe that she can write any story for herself that she imagines.

Pauline Moreau is running from the past–and a shameful secret. She arrives in the city on the brink of despair, saddled with a young daughter who needs more love, attention, and resources than Pauline can ever hope to provide. Seeing that Pauline needs a helping hand, Mrs. J tasks Maggie with befriending, and looking after, Pauline.

As the old New York gives way to the new, and Mrs. J’s dream of the world’s largest skyscraper begins to rise from the streets of lower Manhattan, Pauline–with the aid of Maggie and Mrs. J–also remakes herself. But when she reignites the scandal that drove her to New York, none of their lives will ever be the same. Maggie must question everything she thought she knew about love, work, ambition, and family to discover the truth about the enigmatic, strong woman she thought she had rescued.

My Review: Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and Netgalley for providing me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review!

CAREERS FOR WOMEN has a Mad Men-esque vibe set during the 1950s, which is a period I’ve always been drawn to so naturally I was sucked in from the get-go!

Scott’s cast of characters are every bit who you would expect to meet in mid-century New York City. The women are strong and admirable, each securing their own special place within the story. Maggie, the benign central character is level headed and responsible and truly shines when she sacrifices her future with a prominent doctor to raise her friend Pauline’s special needs daughter. I adored Mrs. J., the Director of PR at The Port of New York Authority and the cornerstone to the construction of the World Trade Center towers, she advocates for her career girls during a time when men ran the corporate show. Her beliefs are firmly rooted in good old fashioned hard work and ingenuity and any woman possessing both can achieve her worth.

The multi storylines constantly evolve; Bob Whittaker is the corporate big shot running Alumacore, the upstate aluminum plant polluting the animals and people and his own morality. His despicable actions have far reaching effects; from the death of his step-son’s fiancée’s father to Pauline the reformed prostitute who gets caught in his crosshairs. The plots are thought-provoking especially because I grew up with equal opportunity and my heart went out to the bright women who could only get so far as typists while enduring the occasional pat on the derrière from the boss.

Scott’s writing is nostalgic, entertaining and well paced and I wanted more. She brilliantly pays homage to women who paved the way into corporate America. I highly recommend this book!

 

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