I remember reading this many moons ago, and enjoying it.
In honour of the 50th anniversary Little, Brown book Group and Virago are celebrating with a special anniversary edition, due to be released on June 30th.
Before Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell and Lena Dunham, Jacqueline Susann held the world rapt with her tales of the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists and the jet-set.
Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often cited as the bestselling novel of all time.
Dolls – red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there’s nowhere left to go but down – to the Valley of the Dolls.
Extract from Valley of the Dolls
She would never go back to Lawrenceville! She hadn’t just left Lawrenceville – she had escaped. Escaped from marriage to some solid Lawrenceville boy, from the solid, orderly life of Lawrenceville. The same orderly life her mother had lived. And her mother’s mother. In the same orderly kind of a house. A house that a good New England family had lived in generation after generation, its inhabitants smothered with orderly, unused emotions, emotions stifled beneath the creaky iron armor called ‘manners.’
(‘Anne, a lady never laughs out loud.’ ‘Anne, a lady never sheds tears in public.’ ‘But this isn’t public, I’m crying to you, Mama, here in the kitchen.’ ‘But a lady sheds tears in privacy. You’re not a child, Anne, you’re twelve, and Aunt Amy is here in the kitchen. Now go to your room.’)
And somehow Lawrenceville had pursued her to Radcliffe. Oh, there were girls who laughed and shed tears and gossiped and enjoyed the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of life. But they never invited her into their world. It was as if she wore a large sign that said, Stay Away. Cold, Reserved New England Type. More and more she retreated into books, and even there she found a pattern repeated: it seemed that virtually every writer she encountered had fled the city of his birth. Hemingway alternated between Europe, Cuba and Bimini. Poor bewildered, talented Fitzgerald had also lived abroad. And even the red, lumpy-looking Sinclair Lewis had found romance and excitement in Europe. She would escape from Lawrenceville! It was as simple as that. She made the decision in her senior year at college and announced it to her mother and Aunt Amy during her Easter vacation.
‘Mama . . . Aunt Amy . . . when I finish college I’m going to New York.’
‘That’s a dreadful place for a vacation.’
‘I intend to live there.’
‘Have you discussed this with Willie Henderson?’
‘No. Why should I?’
‘Well, you’ve kept company since you both were sixteen.
Everybody naturally assumes . . .’
‘That’s just it. In Lawrenceville everything is assumed.’
‘Anne, you are raising your voice,’ her mother said calmly. ‘Willie Henderson is a fine boy. I went to school with his daddy and his mother.’
‘But I don’t love him, Mama.’
Jacqueline Susann is a legend in American publishing. Susann was the first author to have three consecutive #1 books on the New York Times Bestseller List. She was married to her beloved husband, producer Irving Mansfield, until her untimely death on September 21, 1974, after a courageously fought battle with breast cancer. Susann’s intensely private twelve-year fight to overcome the disease was not known publicly until after death. She was 56.
Fifty years ago, in 1966, Valley of the Dolls achieved the No. 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list, and stayed there for an unprecedented 28 weeks.
Virago Modern Classics designer hardback and merchandise (notebook and mug) also available, designed by the founder of Biba, Barbara Hulanicki
Valley of the Dolls remains the all-time pop-culture classic, a pioneering work that tackled drug addiction, women’s rights and gay rights, profoundly influencing generations of cultural figures from Gloria Steinem to Lena Dunham
Valley of the Dolls has sold over 40 million copies in 30 languages
‘50 years later, it’s still spot on. The world’s changed immensely but the climb to the top is still a tough one’ Michael Kors
‘Much imitated, but never bettered’ Daily Telegraph
‘Jackie, it seemed, understood by instinct that her readers were ready for the raw side of love… for a franker sexuality and a tougher kind of story – for romance with tears AND oral sex’ The New Yorker
- Author: Boo Walker
- Performed by RC Bray
- Published by Boo Walker and released on Audible September 2014
- Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
After one of the worst nights of his life, DEA Agent T.A. Reddick leaves Miami for Charleston, SC, hoping a return to his roots will heal a wounded heart and the guilt of killing a friend. The sleepy and sultry city of Charleston is filled with echoes of the Old South: genteel playboys, society debutantes, and quiet cobblestone streets. But as Reddick will soon discover, there’s danger lurking under her charming veneer. When a movie star’s death shines a national spotlight on Charleston’s underground cocaine trade, he must go undercover to find the main supplier and shut him down. As a hurricane bears down on the port city and the DEA gets ready to spring its trap, Reddick must contend with more than he ever could have imagined.
TA Reddick is a Federal Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami. He and his partner are working an undercover drug ring and just getting ready to meet for a cocaine exchange in a multi storey garage. When they meet the two sellers TA recognises them as Diego and Robert Vasquez. Robert is a cop and a good friend of TA’s who had saved his life the year before. In the ensuing shoot out, Robert is killed and TA’s partner is injured. Diego Vasquez escapes. Continue reading
- Author: E.L. Lindley
- Kindle Edition
- Crime, Mystery, Romance
For Nicola Mills, approaching middle age doesn’t seem so bad as she enjoys the settled, ordered life she has always dreamed of. Cracks start to appear, however, with the arrival of her mother, whose chaotic life threatens to overshadow Nicola’s routine. Life becomes even more uncertain when she loses her job but, encouraged by her friend Lizzie, Nicola embraces the opportunity to follow her dream and opens a seafront cafe. Fate it seems has other ideas though and, when one of her of her employees goes missing, Nicola is thrown into a dangerous world of crime and murder, which leaves her dreams in tatters.
Dare To Lose, is a novel about friendship, loyalty and strength in the face of adversity. By losing everything, will Nicola finally be able to live?
After being forced out of her job as a school teacher after upwards of 25 years and being on the receiving end of some nasty school politics, Nicola opens the cafe she’s always dreamed of and her life begins to turn a corner. That is, apart from having her mother as a permanent houseguest and until her young American waitress, Jessica, doesn’t show up for work one day and is nowhere to be found. As Nicola becomes increasing worried she phones Jessica’s family in the United States. Nicola has no idea how this will impact on her life.
Jessica’s good looking but very uncommunicative and aloof father, Jack Nash, arrives in response to Nicola’s call. The local police aren’t making Jessica’s disappearance a priority so, as he is a detective in Chicago, Jack decides to start his own investigation and search for his missing daughter. Nicola, Jack, Nicola’s mother and her boyfriend, Ron, find themselves embroiled in a situation they could never have envisioned and are drawn into something very threatening and dangerous.
It was the voice which caught her attention first and she felt her hands freeze as, knife in hand, she turned to find herself face to face with a large, scowling mass of a man. The Texan drawl left little doubt that he was somehow connected to Jessica, as Nicola put the knife aside and picked up the tea towel to wipe her hands.
There’s a lot of action and suspense throughout the story which held my attention fully. I can’t make up my mind if Nicola is very brave or very foolish. Maybe I’ll settle for a mixture of both. It’s a nice change for the main protagonist to be an older woman and Nicola is easy to like, and someone who puts others first. She’s also someone to rely on. All the characters are well drawn and easy to picture in the vivid scenes and places running through my mind.
Nicola and her mother have a complex relationship and they exasperate and comfort each other in equal measure. I like the role reversal, Nicola being the one shocked and embarrassed by what she sees as her mother’s irresponsible behaviour. In the end though, Nicola realises family, friends and dependability are everything, finding love is a bonus.
I enjoyed the story, the humour and E.L. Lindley’s writing style, very much.
About the author
E.L. Lindley is an indie writer and general lover of books in all of their forms. She has written numerous contemporary novels, including the Georgie Connelly series as well as standalone novels. When she is not writing, she is devouring the works of other writers and is delighted by how indie publishing has thrown open the world of publishing. She sees it as a win win situation, allowing writers to publish their work, whilst providing readers with a richer and more varied choice.
Lindley has always loved writing but produced her first full length novel, Business As Usual, when she decided to move on from her career as an English teacher. She now supplements her writing by working on a free-lance basis. This also affords her time to travel and she has been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively throughout the world, using her experiences as a source of inspiration for her writing.
She currently resides in Sheffield in the UK but has lived and worked in many places including, London, Oxford, Southampton, Cheltenham and Brighton. She also studied for a couple of years at the University of Arlington in Texas and has consequently made many extended trips to the USA to visit and stay with friends. Her novels reflect this and tend to incorporate both sides of the Atlantic.
Lindley writes in a style which is both light-hearted and fun but with serious undertones, often tackling gritty subjects. In all of her novels, the characters reflect her belief in humanity and the fact that the human spirit will always prevail, regardless of the situation. Lindley’s primary goal is to entertain people but she is happy to take any response that she can get.