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Park Avenue Summer

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Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamour of 1965 New York City and Cosmopolitan Magazine, where a brazen new Editor-in-Chief--Helen Gurley Brown--shocks America by daring to talk to women about all things off limits...

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. While confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands, someone tries to pull Alice into this scheme to sabotage her boss. But Alice remains loyal and becomes all the more determined to help Helen succeed. As pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown's world, a woman can demand to have it all.

343 pages, Paperback

First published April 30, 2019

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About the author

Renée Rosen

11 books1,472 followers
Renee is the USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction including: THE SOCIAL GRACES, PARK AVENUE SUMMER, WHAT THE LADY WANTS, WINDY CITY BLUES, WHITE COLLAR GIRL and DOLLFACE, as well as the YA novel, EVERY CROOKED POT.
Her new novel, FIFTH AVENUE GLAMOUR GIRL, about the cosmetic icon, Estée Lauder will be published in April, 2023 Penguin Random House / Berkley. She is currently working on a new novel about Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie, coming in 2025.

Most people discover their love of reading first and then decide to try writing. For Renee Rosen, it was just the opposite. From the time she was a little girl she knew she wanted to be a writer and by age seventeen had completed her first novel, with what she admits was the worst opening line of all time. Her hopes of being the youngest published author on record were soon dashed when her “masterpiece” was repeatedly rejected. Several years and many attempts later, Renee finally became a reader first.

Since then she has been fortunate enough to study the craft of writing from such esteemed novelists as Michael Cunningham, Susan Minot and Carol Anshaw.

Renee now lives in Chicago where she is working on a new novel. You can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/ReneeRosenAu..., https://twitter.com/ReneeRosen1 or visit her website at www.reneerosen.com

Praise for DOLLFACE

"DOLLFACE is as intoxicating as the forbidden liquor at the heart of it. Rosen's Chicago gangsters are vividly rendered, and the gun molls stir up at least as much trouble as their infamous men. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will love DOLLFACE. I know I did." Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

Advanced Praise for WHAT THE LADY WANTS (coming November 4, 2014)

 "WHAT THE LADY WANTS is as fun and addictive and Chicago-licious as a box of Marshall Field's Frango Mints. And, sadly, you'll finish it almost as fast. A delight.” Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower and The Hundred Year House


2010 Popular Book for Young Adults by YALSA

2007 Booklist Editor’s Pick

Starred Reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,570 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020

"I find it so funny that you're nervous about a woman editing a magazine for women."
Alice Weiss leaves the Midwest for the Big Apple - chasing the same dream as her mother, to become a photographer in New York.

Her mother's old best friend sets her up with a secretary job under Helen Gurley Brown - the first female editor of Cosmopolitian.

At first, everything is going aces for Alice.

It's the 1960s and she's in her mid-twenties, no strings and ready to branch out into the working world.
I'd arrived in New York about a week ago, and like the city, I was alive, filled with possibility and adventure.
Like a bucket of cold water, Alice quickly realizes that her job may not be as secure as she would have liked.
"I'd be surprised if Cosmopolitan is still being published in six months."
Nearly everyone wants Helen to fail - every move she makes is dissected and used for office gossip.

How dare Helen (a woman!) think she knows what's best? Doesn't she realize that she needs to listen to the men in the office??

How dare Helen (the idiot!)
refuse stable ads for diaper and hemorrhoid cream in favor of frivolous ones from makeup and hair companies? Doesn't she respect the dignity of the magazine?

How dare Helen (the tart!)
want to publish articles about how to look sexy or having no-strings sex? Does she have any morals?

How dare Helen (the absolute embarrassment)
order writeups on birth control and menstrual health? Does she even have a clue what readers want to know?

And to all that, Helen has a single answer - yes. Yes she dares.

Cause there is nothing worse than not knowing - whether it be how to feel free and comfortable in your own body or about keeping you sexually healthy (in a time where this information is often completely censored from young "pure" women).

Helen has a vision, and by-god Alice will see it through.

I was blown away - I truly did not expect to enjoy this book so much!

I have read a few historical fiction novels in my time, and for the most part...yawn. Or possibly yawn-fest.

But Park Avenue Summer is wholly and completely the exception.

Picture The Devil Wears Prada (movie version, not the awful book) but instead of Andy whining, she's actually doing things and making a difference. Great, isn't it??

Helen and Alice were bright, bold and beautiful as main characters.

I loved the way Rosen took Helen, such an outwardly strong character, and made her human via crippling self-doubt and stroke-high levels of stress.

I loved the way Alice starts as a timid young girl - crushed from the loss of her boyfriend - and grows into the woman she is now.
"You really don't want to fall in love, , do you?"
"...not if I can help it."
And above all, I loved...well...everything. I am completely in love with this book - it is a fabulous feminist summer read!

With thanks to Berkley Publishing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

All quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
435 reviews443 followers
June 30, 2019
3.5 Stars rounded up to 4

Thank you to the publisher Berkley / Penguin Publishing Group for providing an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

I love reading about the sixties and daily life in New York City, and knew next to nothing about Helen Gurley Brown- so took the plunge into reading this tome.

This is the story of a young woman named Alice Weiss who hails from Youngstown, Ohio, but was motivated to move to New York City, The year was 1965. Her mother Vivian died in a car accident eight years ago, when Alice was thirteen. Mom had been an aspiring model in New York City before she got married, and later was an avid amateur photographer, documenting her family's life. Alice treasured her mother's Leica camera, which she brought with her to New York City. Alice inherited her mother's love of photography, but with a dream of making it her career.

When Alice arrives in NYC, she looks up Elaine Sloan, a close friend of her mother's from the days when they were both models. Elaine is now a successful book editor, currently working with Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" book. Alice and Elaine had last seen each other at Mom Vivian's funeral eight years earlier. Elaine was happy to help Alice establish herself in New York City. To that end, she sent Alice for an interview with Helen Gurley Brown, who was just named chief editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Cosmopolitan (often nicknamed "Cosmo"), a magazine owned by the mammoth Hearst Corporation, was struggling at the time. Helen Gurley Brown had written a groundbreaking book three years earlier, "Sex and the Single Girl". The overriding theme of the book was that women didn't necessarily need to get married and they could also be financially independent. Helen wanted to transform the magazine in ways that the Hearst Corporation was constantly resisting. Helen kept referring to Cosmo's potential readers as "my girls" and wanted articles and products advertised geared to a woman's sexuality. She was relentless in her thought plan, and the first transformative issue for July 1965 was a make or break proposition for the magazine.

Alice lands the secretarial position to Helen Gurley Brown and is privy to Helen's frequent crying jaggers, obsession with her weight and fashion sense, but most of all...her strength and singularity of vision in the future of Cosmopolitan magazine. As Helen's right arm, Alice also finds herself rubbing shoulders with successful entertainment industry at parties. However glamorous Alice's job position might seem, it paid little and in her heart she still yearned to be a photographer. However, she had a generous heart and felt loyal and caring towards Helen Gurley Brown.

Alice navigates the rough terrain of romance, alcohol and sex, work intrigue, and career growth opportunities in this delightful historical romp through sixties NYC. I felt like the last twenty percent of the book lagged a bit with romantic tangents, but ultimately resolved itself to a satisfying present day conclusion.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
May 1, 2019
HOT DAMN this book was simply BRILLIANT!!!

Renée Rosen has written one heck of a book that is being immediately added to my favorites shelf! When I was a girl in my late teens and my 20s I never missed an issue of Cosmo it was hands-down my favorite magazine. This book not only tells the story of the reconstruction of Cosmopolitan magazine, but also of the start of the sexual revolution in the 60s. As a girl who grew up in the 80s it is hard to believe how far we came in 20 years, I don’t think anyone even batted an eyelash if I purchased a Cosmo in 1985? It is women like Helen Gurley Brown Who we have to thank for taking those first steps towards empowerment and liberation. And seriously what would we have done without those fabulous quizzes every month?

Alice has moved from Ohio to NYC with the dream of being a photographer. Soon enough she figures out it’s not going to be quite as easy as that, so with the help of a family friend she lands a job as a secretary. Not really what she wants to do, but she is excited that she will be working with and for, Helen Gurley Brown. Hgb who became infamous for writing the controversial book about sex and the single girl is now editor and chief of Cosmopolitan. Hgb has plans to turn the magazine world on its head, something she meets with much resistance. HGB will not be deterred though she is going to write a magazine for her girls; the single working girl who loves fashion, beauty, and *gasp* sex. The book is told from the perspective of Alice and through her eyes we get a front row look at the life of this dynamic woman and transitional time in history.

The story being told from Alice’s point of view I thought was extremely impactful. You really got to see how much Helen Gurley Brown cared for and wanted to mentor “her girls.“ Alice was a great character and I loved watching her navigate her way through her first real job and her first fling. Alice was smart and strong and I loved how she really knew what advice to take and what advice not to. Hgb’s message was so perfect. That as a woman it’s OK to have dreams and desires and to go after them, and probably even more important it’s OK to screw up. I also loved her theory about Don wands, because isn’t that the truth.

This book perfectly marries fact and fiction.Miss Rosen’s engaging writing style gave me such a well defined sense of place and time. I felt as though I was completely transported to 1960s NYC. I loved all the little attention to detail, the runs in the stockings, the jewelry, and the smoking, oh the smoking, so much smoking.

Simply put I was completely captivated by this enthralling story. I cannot recommend it enough!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,121 reviews30.2k followers
April 30, 2019
Park Avenue Summer is Renee Rosen’s best yet! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I’m a big fan of Renee Rosen. She writes wonderful historicals with strong female characters, and I completely fall into the stories. I have been waiting for Park Avenue Summer to be on my shelf since I first heard about it, and I think it’s Rosen’s best book yet!

Alice Weiss leaves small town life in the Midwest to make her dreams happen in New York City. She winds up working for none other than Helen Gurley Brown, the first female editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan Magazine.

When Alice begins work at Cosmo, she witnesses editors and writers leaving the magazine, all because they refuse to work for the woman who penned a lurid bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl.

At the same time, things are happening behind the scenes to further scandalize Gurley Brown, and Alice gets roped into it. Instead, Alice turns the tables and chooses to help her boss advance. Will Alice and Helen Gurley Brown put Cosmo back on the map?

Wow, talk about powerful female main characters! Helen Gurley Brown was a changemaker for her time, and this book highlights a turning point in history for women, especially as it pertained to women’s magazines at the time. I was completely enthralled with learning about Helen AND Alice. I truly had no idea how influential, determined, and free-thinking Helen Gurley Brown was.

There’s some build-up leading up to a special issue of the magazine. I was so deeply invested in this story, I had to find out how it would all come together and whether Cosmopolitan would make its mark. What a fascinating time in history to illuminate and what a remarkable woman to take us there.

Carve out some time for this one, friends, because it’s extremely hard to put down!

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Brandice.
855 reviews
August 12, 2019
In Park Avenue Summer Ali moves to New York City to pursue her dream of being a photographer. When she arrives, through the help of a family friend, she obtains a job as an assistant to Helen Gurley Brown, the new editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. It’s the 1960s and Helen is facing a ton of skepticism and pressure from the men over at Hearst, the magazine’s parent company. Helen is unwilling to cave to many of their demands as she works to create a new Cosmo, giving women what they really want.

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed the time period and thought Ali was likable — A smart, ambitious woman determined to pursue her professional aspirations while still trying to balance her social life. It was somewhat amusing to me to read about the “shock” of the new Cosmo. While I’ve read many editions here and there over the last several years, in my life, the magazine has always held the same format and is largely catered to a young female demographic. I wasn’t familiar with Helen Gurley Brown prior to reading this book (as the time period is set more than 20 years before my life began), but I appreciate what she did, blazing a trail for professional women in the years to come and working to create a more relative publication.

Park Avenue Summer is the second book I’ve read by Renee Rosen. While there were similarities in the format of these stories, I enjoyed this one a little more than White Collar Girl. Rosen has mastered historical fiction featuring strong female characters and I look forward to reading more of her books.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
May 14, 2019
4 Stars.

Passion. Desire. Dedication. Hard work. In my opinion, these are the four words that describe Helen Gurley Brown perfectly.

The year is 1965. Helen Gurley Brown becomes Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Ms. Gurley Brown’s ideas for the magazine are outlandish - at least compared to the old Cosmo. Ms. Gurley Brown believes in the sexual revolution, in the idea of women being sexy and sexual, in women being free and getting exactly what they want, in and out of the bedroom. Her plan is to publish articles saying exactly that in the new Cosmo. Let’s just say that heads roll!

Alice Weiss becomes Helen’s secretary and the two take Cosmo by storm.

Alice is from a small town. New York is unlike anything she has ever imagined. Lights, camera and Helen! Oh and did I mention the men? Yes, they exist too. Much to Alice’s delight and confusion.

“Park Avenue Summer” was, admittedly quite the surprising read for me. I was totally immersed in the life of Helen Gurley Brown and I was mesmerized. What an incredible woman! I loved reading about her push for change and her fierce determination. I had heard of Ms. Brown before however reading this made me google more about her and I felt a bit like my friend Jan, who I consider to be the ultimate researcher. Let’s just say that I found the life of Helen Gurley Brown to be quite fascinating! While the character of Alice was entirely fictional, I enjoyed her backstory also.

A huge thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and to Renee Rosen for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads, Amazon an Twitter on 5.14.19.
Excerpt published on Instagram.
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
812 reviews1,861 followers
May 1, 2019

This was an interesting story that reminded me of a Netflix series I watch, Mad Men. The era when men seemed to be able to get away with pretty much anything, including office affairs and the sexism that was prevalent. Renee Rosen has a writing style that pulled me right into the era.

The story spotlights Helen Gurley Brown and how she transformed Cosmopolitan magazine in 1965. She had to deal with a lot of males who didn't see her "vision" of the magazine. I learned some things about how much she turned the magazine around and what she was up against in a time where such things were viewed as scandalous.

Alice becomes her assistant and we get to know her and follow her life in the New York City as she grows, dates and follows her dreams.

Well-written and a lovely ending. I would love to read more from the author.

Thanks to the Berkley for my review copy. This one is available on April 30,2019
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
May 11, 2019
Vibrant, inspiring, & empowering!

This was my very first RENEÉ ROSEN book and just let me tell you it just had me asking myself, “Uhm, how come I haven’t read any of this author's books before?” I am definitely going to be checking out her other books, past and future ones that is for sure.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER by RENEÉ ROSEN is a highly entertaining, delightful, captivating, and fascinating historical fiction novel that immediately drew me in and held my interest right to the very end. Lately, with my books, I have been finding myself easily distracted and my thoughts wavering while reading but I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case here. I was fully immersed in this story and found the setting, characters, and storyline to be extremely engrossing and totally enraptured me.

RENEÉ ROSEN delivers an intriguing, well-plotted and well-written read here that captures place and time fabulously placing me right into the heart of this story. There was this perfect balance of fact and fiction that I absolutely loved and found so appealing. I was never too much of a Cosmopolitan reader and still not but there is this attraction, fascination and glamorous appeal to the magazine that I have always found intriguing. So I just knew that I had to read this story and find out how the new editor, Helen Gurley Brown’s vision for her “girls” reshaped the look and feel of women’s publications everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Helen’s story through the perspective of her fictional secretary, Alice. I thought it was very telling and an effective way to hear about Helen and her story as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. This was definitely an engaging page-turner and one that had me rooting for the success of the July issue when it went to print and hoping for all of Alice’s dreams to come true. I am especially fond of Epilogues and I have to say that I absolutely loved how this one wrapped up. Perfection!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Glamorous, nostalgic, beautiful and a fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love the simplicity, classic and vintage feel of this cover.
Title: Intriguing, fun and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly and wonderfully into storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, witty, fluid, engaging and readable. Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative, totally entertaining. There were even a few laugh out loud moments and some touching ones too.
Plot: Glitzy, fascinating, atmospheric, sexy (without details), entertaining, and highly enjoyable.
Ending: A goose bump ending that enveloped me with warmth leaving me with that ever coveted afterglow feeling of satisfaction that I just read a fabulous book.
Overall: Wowza! This book gave me all the feels and it’s a huggable one that will stay with me long after closing the cover. Just fabulous and another one added to my Favourite Reads Shelf for 2019. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for my complimentary copy. It was an absolute pleasure spending time with this book!!

Review can also be found on our blog:
May 18, 2019
Ok, pussycats! I was definitely a Cosmo girl back in the day and I couldn’t wait for every new edition of the magazine and never missed one. I had stacks of magazines that I kept for years. I read it from cover to cover and loved those very brazen articles which weren’t so back in my day like they were here in this story. So when I got the chance at a complimentary copy of Park Avenue Summer. I jumped at it. I didn’t keep all those magazines and I wished that I had now. It would be fun to go back and look at those titles and articles and see how they changed.

We meet the brazen, determined and ambitious editor of Cosmopolitan magazine Helen Gurley Brown through our main character Alice who becomes her “secretary” which was the title used back in the day. I am feeling kind of old here. Lol, I enjoyed the dynamics here between the characters and loved just how ambitious both the women were. I was fascinated by Helen and enjoyed learning a bit about what the real Helen might have been like. I wished the story was focused a bit more on her and the magazine. I enjoyed Alice’s character but felt there was a little bit of unnecessary drama and a bit of a romance there which slowed down the story for me and left me rolling my eyes a bit. And this is where Norma and I differ as readers because she loves that stuff.

I enjoyed my trip down memory lane with this one and glad I read it. I highly recommend.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for my complimentary copy
July 16, 2019
Alice Weiss is an aspiring photographer looking for a job in New York City. She moved from Ohio hoping that a family connection would provide a job. With limited experience, Alice finds employment at Cosmopolitan magazine. Her new role is the secretary to Helen Gurley Brown who is their first woman editor in chief.

In the mid-1960s Helen Gurley Brown was hired to bring life to the failing magazine. Her progressive and sometimes racy ideas were questioned by her management team causing many of them to resign. Alice develops a close relationship with Helen and enjoys the photo shoots and expensive dinners. She soon becomes protective of her boss and resists the internal forces seeking to oust her. Things become more difficult for Alice as she fights for balance in her personal and professional life.

Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen takes you behind the scenes of the amazing life of Helen Gurley Brown. She was a visionary who broke down social barriers in a man dominated field. I recall the racy quotes from Cosmopolitan when I was younger but never appreciated the significance until I read this book.
Profile Image for Renée Rosen.
Author 11 books1,472 followers
April 29, 2019
Yep, I did it! I gave myself 5 stars. Cannot wait to share PARK AVENUE SUMMER with everyone starting tomorrow!
Profile Image for Mary.
1,473 reviews493 followers
April 30, 2019
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5 (4.5/5)

Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen is described as Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada, and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree. As a lover of both of them, I could definitely see them both in this book.

What it's about: It is New York in 1965 and Alice Weiss has just moved there from Youngstown, Ohio looking for a job. Thanks to a friend of Alice's deceased mother, Alice gets an interview to be the assistant for Helen Gurley Brown who has just become the new editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. With people quitting right and left, Helen ends up hiring Alice pretty much on the spot. But growing up in the Midwest has not prepared Alice for the whirlwind she ends up in at Cosmo. Between the pressure of the magazine and trying to find her way in New York with both life and love, Alice has her work cut out for her.

I can't quite put into words how much I was moved by Park Avenue Summer, and I honestly don't think I even have the vocabulary to properly express just how good it was for me. I loved Alice's character even though she is fictional, and being able to see Helen and Cosmo at that time through her eyes. Alice is dealing with her own pain as well as trying to keep up with Helen, plus trying to make friends, pursuing her passion of photography, and vetting love interests. She is one very busy single girl, and I loved reading her story.

I knew very little about Cosmopolitan magazine's history, and wasn't even aware of Helen Gurley Brown being their first ever female editor-in-chief. I used to read Cosmo all the time and it was so interesting seeing how Helen made it what it is today. I loved Helen's story almost as much as I loved Alice's, and Park Avenue Summer made me want to read more about her as well as read her book Sex and the Single Girl: The Unmarried Woman's Guide to Men, Careers, the Apartment, Diet, Fashion, Money and Men because it was so controversial.

The chapters weren't too terribly long, and even though it took me about 5 hours and 15 minutes to read, it felt like I was flying through the book. I laughed out loud so many times, but also cried a decent amount, especially towards the end of the book. Park Avenue Summer is another one of those novels that I recommend having tissues close by for when you read it!

Final Thought: I really loved Rosen's writing style, and this made my reading experience thoroughly enjoyable. I think that if you are at all interested in Helen Gurley Brown or the history of Cosmo magazine, Park Avenue Summer will be a must read for you. I loved how much it felt like Mad Men, and reading about New York in 1965 was an interesting experience that I loved. I am most definitely looking forward to reading more from Rosen!

I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,055 reviews364 followers
April 24, 2019
Park Avenue Summer is a walk back in time to an era when women were just emerging from the sexual dark ages into a generation of power, opportunities and revolution.

Alice Weiss has left her small, midwestern town in search of big dreams and opportunities in New York City. It's the mid-60s and times are changing, particularly at Cosmopolitan, the failing magazine where Alice has landed a job. The new editor, Helen Gurley Brown has shocked everyone as the first female editor of the publication but more so with her shocking bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. Alice soon learns that it's a man's world as those in power try to draw her into a scheme to sabotage Brown's work and ultimately lead to the failure of Cosmo. Alice learns, however, that in this new world a woman can make demands and have it all, succeed and come out on top!

Admittedly I'm a child of the 60s and 70s and remember well the days of both the sexual revolution and the feminist movement. Reading Park Avenue Summer was very much like a walk down memory lane for me. There was a very clear division in my life's timeline: a before, when women were one way, and after, when things were very different. We have women like Helen Gurley Brown to thank for that. While Park Avenue Summer is the story of Alice's time at the magazine, there is quite a bit of historical fact throughout the book. Much of what happened at Cosmopolitan and what transpired with Brown is documented. While we look back on her with our present sense of power and women's rights, at the time so much of what she did and wrote about was considered scandalous. Churches across America were preaching against Brown and her magazine. Men wouldn't allow their daughters or wives to flip through the pages of it at stores, much less buy it. The only place I ever saw it was at the hair dresser's. We went there often. ;) Through Alice's eyes we see the world as it is changes; we see young women like Alice growing bolder and realizing their own power and strength. That is exactly what this period was about and Rosen captures that time, the feelings of empowerment beautifully. Park Avenue Summer is, in fact, the perfect 1960s historical fiction to illustrate the evolution of women from one era to the next.

"Filled with wit, heart and verve, Rosen's novel dazzles and empowers" ~ Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana

Many thanks to @ReneeRosen1 and Elisha @BerkleyPub Park Avenue Summer will be available April 30 at your favorite bookseller and Amazon
Profile Image for Annette.
763 reviews335 followers
May 10, 2021
NYC, 1965. Helen Gurley Brown is hired as the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine. Helen is bold and with her outrageous ideas she is losing editor after editor. She is up against men set in their minds and used to deciding on what young ladies like to read. She tries to put an end to that up tight old fashioned mind set.

Alice Weiss arrives in NYC with a dream of becoming a professional photographer. Instead, through some connections, she lands a secretarial position for Helen. Meanwhile, Alice uses her free time to follow her passion of photography, capturing moments that tell the whole story – before and after shutter clicks.

There are those who conspire against Helen and try to sabotage her ideas, while Alice remains loyal to her. No matter how many obstacles are thrown Helen’s way, she is a resourceful person. She can stretch a budget, write articles, take photographs, and more, at least that’s what she says.

This is a fun chick-lit with authentic, fleshed out characters carrying thought provoking new ideas, and well-depicted time period bringing the streets of NYC and the city full of opportunities, and how feminism spreads in the city with different approaches, but pretty much the same idea.

P.S. Highly recommend this author's latest book The Social Graces.
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
418 reviews14.4k followers
May 14, 2019
One of the best books I’ve read in 2019, I absolutely was captivated by Alice’s story about her summer in New York for Helen Gurley Brown! With a blend of historical fiction built around historical fact, Renee Rosen crafted a compelling story that allowed me to not only fall in love with the fictional Alice, but also love Helen, a woman who changed the way young women were able to think about their own bodies, empowerment, and relationships. An incredible novel!

Friends and long-time readers will know I’m a big fan of Kate White, who happened to be the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine only two years after Helen Gurley Brown left. I’ve always loved the way Cosmopolitan magazine promotes a new way of female empowerment—feminism that focuses on not only equality, but celebrating all of the wonderful things about being a female. When I went into this book, I thought it would be the story of Helen told through Alice’s eyes, but it wasn’t that at all!

In fact, the story of Alice completely captivated me. Alice is this amazing example of the type of reader that Helen’s vision of Cosmopolitan would not only reach out to—but change fundamentally. Alice is coming of age, in her early 20s and new to New York City. Alice struggles between being a “good girl” and finding out who she is and what she wants. Alice is the exact person to show readers about Helen’s girls (“my girls” as she calls them)—the ones who are young but empowered, who want careers, who want to be single but still have sex. This is the story of Helen’s girls told through Alice.

I absolutely adored Alice!!! She was this wonderful mix of inexperienced and savvy, navigating challenging situations based on her instincts, which over time she learns to trust to lead her the right way. I loved how everywhere Alice goes in the city, she thinks about her mother and what could have been. How did her glamorous, talented mother end up in the Midwest raising a family?

As Alice finds her way to working for Helen Gurley Brown on the re-imagined Cosmopolitan magazine, she learns who she is—a girl who is fiercely loyal, who wants to experience different men so she knows when she finds the right one for her, and who wants to be a photographer but is scared she isn’t talented enough. Alice and her Don Juan, as Helen calls him, was such a fun and relatable part of this book. Helen is right—we all have a Don Juan who we go back to even though we know he will leave us shattered.

This was such a unique way to celebrate Helen Gurley Brown’s life—through a fictional story about the exact sort of girl that Helen reached through her pioneering efforts at Cosmopolitan. I hope readers love this book as much as I did!

Thank you to Berkley for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,462 reviews560 followers
July 8, 2020
[3+] An enjoyable, light read (perfect for the beach) set in the 1965 NYC magazine publishing world.
Profile Image for Stephanie ~~.
218 reviews120 followers
August 1, 2019
Excellent historical fiction! I couldn't have loved a book more!

Alice Weiss leaves her home in a cozy little Midwestern town to pursue her dream of living in New York City and lands a job as the secretary of Helen Gurley Brown, who was actually the executive editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine for 32 years. The story takes place in 1965, right after Brown was brought on to the Hearst magazine to turn it around, and turn it around she did! This is a story about how tough the publishing world was for women back in the 60's, about photography (Alice's ultimate dream job), about sex, love, politics and more.

The writing was easy to follow and effortlessly executed. If you're looking for a fun summer read, pick this up. You won't want to put it down!
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,813 reviews474 followers
May 7, 2019

“The girls! My girls. Your girls. The new Cosmo reader is a young, vibrant, single woman. She’s career minded and driven. She’s sexy and fun spirited. Even a bit naughty. And I know her better than anyone because I was that girl.”

What an interesting story Renee Rosen brings to life! It's a piece of historical fiction who has Helen Gurley Brown as the protagonist. For most of us, she's a name we have heard before but we might not have realized how important she became to the women in the sixties.

In 1965, Helen Gurley Brown becomes the new Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan. Helen the author of Sex and the Single Girl novel has already created quite a stir but when she lands the position at the had-seen-better-days-magazine, many people are unhappy. Multiple employees (men for the most part) quit instantly and some others over the next few weeks after she takes over. From the novel, we learn that Helen was working with a skeleton crew and a very tight budget. Everyone was sure she was going to fail and plenty of leaks were dispersed about what she had in the works for the July and August edition of Cosmo that year. The Hearst executives didn't support her. She was too progressive for them. She wanted to speak to young women through the magazine.

“Helen Gurley Brown is all for a woman having a career.”

In order to tell us Helen's story, Renee Rosen brings us, Alice Weiss. A young woman who has moved from Ohio to NYC. Her mother used to live in NYC when she was alive. Alice wants to feel closer to her mother and she knows that in NYC she can be. Alice has the dream of becoming a photographer.

Thanks to a friend of her mother's, Elaine Sloan, Alice lands the job as Helen's secretary. Alice might disagree with some of the things Helen says but for the most part, Alice believes in her boss. A woman who for the most part is underestimated by many.

At work, Alice meets Erik Masterson and then, later on, she meets Christopher Mack, a photographer who has an eye for things and who wants to help Alice achieve her dreams. Alice realizes that both men are quite different and she's attracted to both. What does a girl do?

What I like the most about the book is the clear portrayal of Helen. She was a thin woman who ate very little. She broke pencils when she was under stress. A woman who loved to cry as an outlet and who asked for the support of her husband, David Brown, the famous producer of many movies like The Sting, Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon and Chocolat (to name a few), whenever she felt down.

“Get me David.”

She was also a pioneer in fighting for "her girls". This is what she called the women she wanted the magazine to target. "My Girls" were women who were independent, women who were interested in their own careers, their own value and their sexuality. Women who might marry someday but who were enjoying the single life for now. In a world where women in their twenties were considered old or not marriage material, Helen was telling them, their life was just beginning.

“She’s smart, independent, always striving for more,”
“She’s bold and daring. She loves men and she loves sex.”

I appreciate Mrs. Rosen's portrayal of Helen's life. Very interesting indeed. After finishing, I went to look for pictures of the July's cover with the model Renata. I also looked at pictures of Helen and Helen with David. They seem to have lived a long and loving life together.

"She truly cared about her girls."

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Lisa.
621 reviews233 followers
August 11, 2019
A fabulously captivating read for anyone that has ever picked up an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Alice Weiss leaves her small Midwestern Ohio town to chase her big city dreams in New York City in 1965. Unexpectedly, she lands the job of a lifetime, working for the first female editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown. Alice begins her job just as editors and writers are walking out the door refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. When a handsome executive tries to pull Allison into his game to sabotage her boss she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed. Pressure mounts at the magazine as Helen must fight on every front to totally change the concept of Cosmo for “her girls.” As the battle over Cosmo rages Alice does not lose sight of her own dreams to become a photographer, as she is swept up in a glamorous world of five star dinners, lavish parties and men who are certainly up to no good. After all, if Helen taught her “pussycats” anything, it’s that a woman can demand to have it all.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER is simply delightful. The characters, the setting and the story all work together to transport us to New York City in 1965 and the start of an iconic magazine as we know it today. Alice’s character is spot on for a young twenty something in the Big Apple trying to live the life her mother had had to give up. Alice was scared but also brave and this mix of vulnerability as well strength made her come alive on the pages of PARK AVE SUMMER. My favorite part was when Alice took a firm stand and refused to sabotage HGB’s mission.

I loved the historical fiction aspect of the novel, but even more I appreciated the authors note at the end, detailing fact from fiction. As a Cosmo reader in the 70’s, reading about the magazine’s transformation was enlightening and made me appreciate it all the more. The writing was easy to read and flowed well. I listened to the audible book and found it totally entertaining and enjoyable. So glad I read this one!

Author Renée Rosen lives in Chicago and is a best selling author of historical fiction including: Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants, and Dollface.

Publisher Berkley
Published April 30, 2019
Narrated Kathie Mazur, Renée Rosen
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
Profile Image for Kate Quinn.
Author 39 books23.1k followers
February 14, 2019
A book I was very happy to read for a cover quote, because Renee Rosen is my go-to for whip-smart heroines who love their work. Her latest is small-town girl Alice who arrives in New York in the glittering '60s and lands a job for Cosmopolitan's razor-sharp new editor Helen Gurley Brown, who sees in Alice the quintessential young career woman who is her new target audience. Alice dreams of becoming a photographer, Helen dreams of blazing a trail in the men's club of the magazine world which is rooting for her to fail, and both women will lean on each other as they chase their ambitions. PARK AVENUE SUMMER is a delightful summer cocktail of a read.
Profile Image for Whitney.
131 reviews50 followers
May 29, 2019
Overall: An absorbing and fun novel filled with passion, desire, hard-work, and lots of delicious NYC food and cocktails. Follows the early career of Helen Gurley Brown as Cosmopolitan's editor in chief and is a perfect beach read along with a nice cocktail. 3.5/5 or 6.5/10

Summary: Alice Weiss (aka Ali) is a girl from Ohio with big city dreams of becoming a photographer and following after her mother and living in New York City. After her mother dies, a harsh break-up, and graduating college, Ali moves to NYC and lands the position of being Helen Gurley Brown's secretary at Cosmopolitan magazine. The book follows Ali's new life in NYC as Helen's secretary at a crucial time for Cosmopolitan magazine; it was very close to going under and Helen was given the last attempt to save it.

The Good: I loved learning more about Helen Gurley Brown. Helen was the editor-in-chief for Cosmopolitan magazine for over thirty years and this book follows the very beginning of this period. Helen is a very unique character and I really enjoyed getting to know her more and learn about her incredible career. She was also the author of Sex and the Single Girl, a novel put out way before the time and she really did help pave the way for women and feminism in a variety of ways.
The time period and setting of NYC was great and the author does a good job making you feel like you are there. This book is fun and absorbing and I read it over two days while being at the beach.

The Bad: I wish this novel was focused more on Helen Gurley Brown or even from her perspective! Alice was quite bland of a character compared to Helen, and also completely made up, so I felt this was a big detriment to the novel. Overall, the book was very predictable and some elements of "drama" were added in an attempt make the book deeper than it was which I didn't like. As I have said in previous reviews, though romance can be a great addition when done well, sometimes it is a negative and makes the book more superficial. Unfortunately, that was the case here for me.

Favorite Quotes (from Helen Gurley Brown, not the book):
"Don't use men to get what you want in life. Get it yourself."

"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."

"Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort."

"My success was not based so much on any great intelligence but on great common sense."
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,053 reviews1,375 followers
April 30, 2019

Living in New York City had always been a dream of Alice’s mother, and Alice decided that is where she wanted to be so she could fulfill her mother’s dream.

When Alice arrives, she finds New York as glamorous and frightening as she thought it would be, and she finds a job working with Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of COSMOPOLITAN, a pretty scandalous magazine for the 1960’s.

We follow Alice as she works with and comforts Ms. Brown in the whirlwind office that Ms. Brown creates.

Ms. Rosen definitely puts the reader into the story with her terrific descriptions of activity in and out of the office, and she brought 1960's New York alive as we were allowed to join in the daily lives of the characters.

It was fun following Alice around and hoping she would fulfill her dreams of becoming a photographer.

A few secrets about Alice's family kept the story line juicy along with stories of her love interest, Erik, even though it seems pretty difficult to be juicier than Ms. Helen Gurley Brown.

Ms. Helen Gurley Brown certainly was someone to be reckoned with and someone who gave Alice the courage to keep on trying to reach her goals.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER is filled with Renee Rosen's meticulous research, detailed descriptions, and is an all-around-fun, educational read.

The ending was heartwarming. If you have loved Ms. Rosen's other books, you are not going to want to miss reading this splendid, delightful read. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
September 4, 2019
I absolutely loved this! Full review to come with blog tour.

Once in awhile you come across a premises that you just know you have to experience for yourself. You pick up a book and you just instantly connect. Not because of the characters or even the setting but just because it simply is written so well that you immediately get sucked into the very story itself and then before you know it, you are in love. In love with the characters, in love with the setting, in love with it all.

Park Avenue Summer is an exceptional read that not only took me by surprise but took my breath away. I absolutely devoured it and adored it and just couldn't get enough of it.
It is so well written, so well voiced and truly something I can't recommend enough. A wonderful insightful look into women in the work place in a time where we weren't quite accepted yet and had to fight for every little triumph and recognition we received.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Tammy.
933 reviews174 followers
June 21, 2019
4 ☆ I enjoyed reading about Helen Gurley Brown’s dedication, struggles and outside the box (cringe-worthy to some) thinking as the new Editor-in-Chief of the famed Cosmopolitan magazine. Back in 1965 women did not have many places to advance high-up in the working world. Enter small town girl Alice Weiss, hired as secretary to HGB and being pulled by others to sabotage her new boss. Park Avenue Summer is an all around fascinating story that gave me great insight into the challenges facing every working woman in that time period.
Profile Image for Tina Woodbury.
232 reviews180 followers
March 28, 2019
This book is a captivating look at an amazing woman and a turning point in history that would eventually revolutionize women’s magazines everywhere.

Alice has a dream of becoming a photographer. Everyone back home in Ohio loves her photographs, so she thinks she is ready to chase her dream in New York City. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she is a little fish in a big pond. After several interviews she is fortunate enough to get a job as a secretary to Helen Gurley Brown, the new editor-in-chief of the Cosmopolitan magazine.

This story was just as much about Alice as it was about Helen. Even though it is told from Alice’s perspective, I was mesmerized by Helen and her vision for the magazine. The Cosmopolitan is in a downward spiral and Helen was brought aboard to save it. She has big plans for the magazine and feels she knows best what “her girls” want to read. The only problem is that her bosses don’t share her confidence and continuously try to derail her vision.

This book is the perfect blend of fact and fiction! I absolutely loved it! Both Alice and Helen’s story lines were captivating. I was in awe of Helen and her determination. Her thinking was so far outside the box, it was often cringe-worthy to everyone around her. She is in a man’s world fighting to break out and let her voice be heard. Alice learned a lot by working for Helen, but nothing more important than to chase your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Most of the story was spent building up to the July issue of the Cosmopolitan magazine. I could hardly wait to see how it turned out and had to stay up later than I would have liked to see how it would all end.

Not everyone will agree with the direction that the Cosmopolitan magazine would take, but there is no denying that Helen’s drive and forward thinking was light-years ahead of her time!

*Thank you NetGalley, Berkley, and Renèe Rosen for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Erin .
1,230 reviews1,141 followers
January 18, 2020
Giveaway win!

Blast From the Past Read A Thon: Book inspired by real events & A book with a 3 word title

4.5 Stars

I really loved this book. I've been obsessed with the 1960's since I was in high school. I just love how much society changed during that decade.

From me personally the Civil Rights movement was the most important movement of that decade but the Women's Liberation movement isn't far behind.

Helen Gurley Brown was an important figure in the white feminist movement. She was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and she completely changed the face of women's magazines and really media as a whole.

Park Avenue Summer is a fictionalized look at the HGB's first months at Cosmo told through the eyes of her twenty-something assistant Alice.

I just flew through this book. I couldn't put it down. Renee Rosen real knows how to capture the feel of the mid-60's. This book was so much fun and I was sad that it ended.

I highly recommend Park Avenue Summer.
Profile Image for Kathy Maresca.
Author 1 book59 followers
April 26, 2023
What an engaging read. If you like Manhattan and are interested in a time-capsule of the revolutionary mid-1960's, you will not want to miss this one.

See the changing world of women and all that women get involved in through the eyes of fictional but totally believable Alice Weiss, who lands a job at an iconic magazine. Alice must navigate not only the Big Apple but also a broken engagement, hidden truths about her parents, and a highly visible corporate job.

Watch women succeed and fail, love and get their hearts broken, and make strides in a man's world. And oh, it reminded me that tubes of ghastly white lipstick were actually applied to the kissers of beautiful women. Fashions may come and go, but this story will stay.
Profile Image for mina.
69 reviews2,626 followers
August 25, 2022
hmmm i really WAS expecting a mad men-esque narrative, which is maybe why i’m so disappointed. Overall, it’s a breezy read, but the writing style got on my nerves… lots of explaining with what i felt was very little emotional investment. I never felt anything was ever at stake either.
Profile Image for Anne .
443 reviews360 followers
June 27, 2020
Light, feel-good, escapist historical fiction about Helen Gurley Brown starting Cosmopolitan Magazine and the obstacles she faced as told through her assistant, a woman in her twenties who moves to NYC from the Midwest.

Ahh! Got my NYC fix. Visited some old haunts and was reminded of what is was like to be young and starting a career in NYC. Though this book takes place 2 decades before my arrival it didn't make a difference in terms of the feeling of the city which is well described.

Profile Image for Tammy(PeaceLoveBooks).
525 reviews199 followers
April 20, 2019
Park Avenue Summer is a fascinating glimpse into the early days of Cosmopolitan magazine(as we know it!) and it’s first female editor, Helen Gurley Brown. Rene Rosen’s research is always evident in her books but her work shines through in this novel! I lost sleep over this book simply because I couldn’t put it down and read into the early hours. Grab a copy of this book, a martini and settle in for an amazing read!
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