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June 12, 2024

Take a Peek into the Lives of the Rich and Famous in Michelle Gable's New Novel

by Susan Roberts

Set against the glamorous 1960s Jet Set—a failed debutante's new job as assistant to society photographer Slim Aarons takes her into Palm Beach’s inner circle, and into a beguiling friendship with the star at its center, fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer.

 Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel The Beautiful People by Michelle Gable
April 2024; Graydon House; 978-1525831577
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); women's fiction

If you've ever wondered what life was like for rich people in the early '60s, The Beautiful People is full of insight into their jet set lifestyles.  It takes place in Palm Beach where only the richest people stay for the 'season'.  Not only are there some well-written characters - but there are also brief mentions of other popular people in the 60s -- Jackie Kennedy, Truman Capote, and a host of Vanderbilts. Beautiful people in beautiful places.

Margo's main goals in life are to marry a rich man and to stay away from her disinterested mother in San Francisco.  She almost has the first goal in her grasp but her rich boyfriend breaks the engagement at a wedding attended by many of their friends.  She really had to look at her life -- she WAS in Palm Beach but she had no money, no job, and not much training to do any job.  Her rich friend makes arrangements for her to go to work as an assistant for Slim Aarons, who was a well-known photographer of the stars. Through her work with him, Margo is able to meet many rich and famous people -- including Lily Pulitzer who becomes a real friend and mentor. Just as she begins to think that the life of the rich is within her grasp, she gets entangled in a web of lies and has to decide if living her dream of being rich and famous is worth ignoring her own morals.

Margo was a well-written character and it was interesting to see her grow up during the course of the book.  At first, she is only interested in being rich, but as she begins to enjoy photography and being responsible for herself, she starts to wonder if living the high life is what she really wants.  Some of the rich and famous in this book -- especially Lily Pulitzer come off as being pretty shallow and egotistical.  Despite that, it was interesting to read about her transformation into a famous dress designer.  I enjoyed googling some of her dresses and the material patterns that she designed plus I spent some time googling the photos of Slim Aarons.  Some of his photos of famous people are well-known and still available to purchase.

I thought that this was a very enjoyable book.  Not only is it a coming-of-age story for Margo but it's also a peek into the lives of the rich and famous and being reminded that having money doesn't buy a person happiness.

Buy The Beautiful People at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   

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