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Carnegie Hill

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  832 ratings  ·  242 reviews
Deception is just another day in the lives of the elite.

At age thirty-three, Penelope “Pepper” Bradford has no career, no passion and no children. Her intrusive parents still treat her like a child. Moving into the Chelmsford Arms with her fiancé Rick, an up-and-coming financier, and joining the co-op board give her some control over her life—until her parents take a gut d
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 20th 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  832 ratings  ·  242 reviews

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Katie B
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This is going to sound weird but for so much of this book the characters felt much more like characters in a fictional book rather than people. I don't need to have anything in common with a character in a book or even necessarily like them, but I do need something that feels real to me. This is the 2nd time in the last few weeks I have read a book in which the story is decent, but most of the characters fall flat. I will say things did come together in the last quarter or so of the book and the ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I’m not sure what the author was trying to accomplish here. We have a 33 year old main character that has yet to grow up. She doesn’t have a job, just recently moved out of her parents’ house and is in therapy. She's mad at her parents, who don’t trust her fiancé. But he is suspect, the kind of guy that admires his friends’ ability to hide his infidelity.

We hear not just from Pepper, but Rick, her fiancé, also other residents of the Chelmsworth Arms and a porter there as well. As the blurb spel
Jul 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

How was this tagged as a romance? I guess train-wreck was too on point. Seriously though, I ended up loathing 99 percent of the characters in this book. Even the one person I didn't loathe, I seriously disliked because he outed someone. I am surprised this wasn't an Oprah Book Pick since every time she loves a book I usually have this reaction to the book.

"Carnegie Hill" follows the residents and a man
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Liking or disliking characters has very little to do with how I liked or disliked a book. Honestly. If disliking characters means that I automatically dislike a book, then I would have had a book burning in the center of the street for Gone Girl. I've never hated a character so much. I loved the book.

I clearly did not find some of the characters in Carnegie Hill very likable. In fact, they were absolutely annoying, like nails on a chalkboard. It really is the sign of a great writer when they can
Lisa Leone-campbell
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Penelope "Pepper" Bradford moves into an exclusive apartment complex with her fiancé Rick, she believes their love is so strong they will live happily ever after. But when Rick's "fidelity" choices prior to their wedding as well as other issues begin to way on Pepper's mind, their relationship becomes far from happy. It actually turns destructive for both of them.

As Penelope integrates herself into the apartment complex she decides to join the co-op board to keep herself occupied. She begin
Amy Bruestle
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Let me start off by saying that I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review....

While I did enjoy reading this book and learning about all of the different characters that lived at the Chelmsford Arms, I just kind of felt like it didn’t go anywhere. And the what? It just stopped. I mean, yeah, I guess it was a happy ending, and it did explain how everyone was...but I don’t know. I just didn’t like the way everything was left so open I guess. I don’t know if
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
I absolutely loved this book and admire the depth this author went into with all the characters. He made every one of them so very interesting!
So many unreliable narrators in this story!
It was fun to read the totally different points of view. Jonathan Barnet has nailed the personalities of New Yorkers and I loved all the descriptions of familiar places around the Upper East Side.
This novel is completely character driven - there really is not that much action and the drama comes from interpersona
Laura Skladzinski
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I went back and forth on this book. There were times I found the plot / characters interesting, and other times when I was so bored. I found most of the characters to be really unlikeable, except for a few gem moments for each. Francis, in particular, was thoroughly obnoxious, and I wanted Carol to leave him almost as soon as we met them. In all, I was glad to finish the book and get some resolution, but didn't love it enough to really recommend.
Olga Gamer
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-books-2019
When reading a book, a lot of readers, myself included, often take into account how likable a character is when it comes to whether or not they enjoyed the book. The thing about this book is well, none of the characters are likable, and they're all insufferable. Taking into account who Vatner is writing about, I'd have to say his depiction is fairly accurate.

"Carnegie Hill" tackles the lives of several characters and as supporting characters, their spouses, Chelmsford Arms, an expensive apartme
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book as a free giveaway. The book is about a group of wealthy but secretly miserable people living in a luxury apartment complex in New York City, and a few of the staff that hold secrets of their own. The book is entertaining enough and a fairly light read. The only thing I didn't like was that the characters were all utterly miserable for almost 300 pages, and then everything was suddenly solved in the epilogue. Endings are hard and it can be difficult to wrap up a long story, but i ...more
Donna Davis
My thanks go to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the review copy. This work of fiction started out like gangbusters and left me feeling confused in the end. What the heck is the author’s purpose here?

The premise is that Pepper, the child of hugely wealthy, influential parents, has left home to live an adult life without her mother’s interference. She meets a man from a working class background and they fall in love; they purchase an apartment at the prestigious Chelmsford Arms, and the anci
Sharon Huether
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story that centers around Chelmford Arms on the upper east side of New York.

The Characters in this story, mostly older couples and the youngest, Penelope and Rick. Penelope wants desperately to get on the Board of Directors for the complex.

A lovely story were neighbors share their thoughts and feelings of love and the not so loved .

I won this free book from Goodreads First reads.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book. I greatly enjoy anything set in New York City, especially tales that center around the city’s storied apartment buildings. Unfortunately, my hopes were immediately dashed when I started reading Carnegie Hill.

Penelope Bradford, also known as Pepper, comes from old money and she’s engaged to Rick who is a self made man with no discernible pedigree. In the first few chapters it’s clear that Pepper is head over heels for Rick, and he for her. However, it’s unclear wha
Svetlana Tishchenko
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Oh my. It feels like this book was written by Pepper herself. Pepper is the main character in the book. She is one spoiled little brat who has nothing better to do than to mop around the multi-million dollar apartment and be depressed. She has no vocation, no hobby. She has nothing to do. She is constantly depressed. She sees therapist for years. She can't clean, cook or do anything useful even for herself. She is reflecting, over-thinking and over-exaggerates absolutely every little thing.
John Newton
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carnegie Hill is wonderful. It is on a basic level centered on a young woman, Pepper, in her early 30s and her experiences on the board of the exclusive Chelmsford Arms, a Carngie Hill coop. But that is the mere framework. The novel consists of engrossing portraits of ten or so residents and two employees of the building—and more importantly, it focuses on their romantic relationships. He movingly describes the struggles, misunderstandings, and, yes, love. The book is also a flawless portrait of ...more
Vinny —.:* Film & Fiction
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: debut
Carnegie Hill is an incredibly light read centering around the lives and relationships among various New Yorkers who assemble in a co-op board of an apartment building in Upper East Side, Manhattan. Featuring Penelope "Pepper" Bradford as the center of the story and following her late coming of age story at the age of thirty-three, I initially expected more depth and sincerity from her, or for any other characters, really. Unfortunately, what I was hoping to be a story of candidness, life strugg ...more
Cynthia Corral
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I love books with ensemble casts of characters, and I really enjoyed this one. The world in this story is confined to one upscale building in New York and its co-op board and tenants. Pepper is in her early 30s and engaged to Rick, but they are the youngest tenants by an average of 40-50 years. Pepper wants a marriage and life like all the older couples she meets in her building, but as we meet each couple we see how they are all struggling to keep things together.

Some reviews have mentioned unl
Joan Happel
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marriages of all sorts are the theme of this comedy of manners debut novel. Many of the residents of New York’s Chelmsford Arms on Carnegie Hill are not very likable, but in a like-able way. Penelope “Pepper” Bradford” and her finance Rick are Chelmsford Arms’ newest resident. Pepper, is a soon to be married 32-year-old pretending to be an adult although she doesn’t feel like one. She has decided that an adult act would be to join the Arms’ board of directors only to discover that the President, ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book about people living in an upscale building in NYC is a debut for this author. It's full of interesting but quirky people, some of whom were very difficult to like. There is a bit of humor and a lot of angst as the main character tries to grow up at 33 years of age.

Two main things that make up the theme of this book:
-Just because someone is rich, doesn't make them nice, kind, honest or happy.
-It's never too late to grow up but to do so, you need to cut the ties that bind you to your par
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-wins
This book was cute. I wanted to like it more but I can't figure out why I didn't. I would call this one of the light hearted no-brainer reads that I like to delve into after an intense read.
**Goodreads win**
Melissa Dee
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ll be honest. I almost gave up on this book after the first few pages. I was not ready to read what I expected to be yet another novel about privileged New Yorkers and their so-called problems. I’m so glad I stuck with it and came to know Penelope and Rick, George and Birdie, Frances and Carol and Sergei and Caleb. Although most of these characters are indeed privileged New Yorkers, Jonathan Vatner has written fully rounded people whose lives are relatable. The novel is set in a co-op on New Y ...more
Laurie Shapiro
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
what a fun read
Noreen Anastasia
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne books for an advance copy in exchange for honest and unbiased opinion.

I wavered quite a bit with this book. It's an easy read, with no mind-enhancing or lesson learning plot themes. However, I doubt the author intended for there to be.

Our central character is a 33-year old woman named Pepper (she does start to use her given name "Penelope" to give herself some weight). Pepper wants for nothing, yet is continually confused about what she should want for. A st
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Carnegie Hill is like a soap and. Essentially, it is the various love stories about the people who live in this apartment building. A lot of variation just like life. Different races, sexual orientations, levels of commitment etc. I found it entertaining and well written. The characters are likeable and relatable. It's a good read overall. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
3.5 stars

Everyone who knows me is completely aware that Carnegie Hill isn't necessarily my genre; however, times being what they are, escapism is the new reality. Rainbows and unicorns and all that.

When I started reading the digital version of the advance copy, courtesy of NetGalley, my eyes immediately started to roll. Frankly, I thought, "There's no way I'm going to like this Pepper chick." (lol) But I stuck with it and am glad for having done so because there are some great characters in this
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is a quick and easy read about the public and private lives of residents of an aging but upscale co-op building in Carnegie Hill in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The central character Pepper has just bought in the building with her fiancé and joined the co-op board. I wanted to like this book but it fell flat for me. For me, none of the characters were likable and they didn’t have depth. A couple of the characters I liked less as the story progressed. Pepper was okay but you really ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I kept wanting to like this...I really gave it a chance. There is just nothing appealing about this book at all. No one really wants to be honest and true. I just can’t relate at all. I won this book in a giveaway.
Sara Rosenthal
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: received
I received an ARC of this book.
This book would be a great beach read, but understanding that it is exactly as described - a bunch of stories about a group of wealthy Manhattanites in a building and how their lives intertwine.

Admittedly, I always take a peek at what other reviewers have said before writing mine and I feel some of the critiques I have read are unfair judgments, however. For example, most of the characters are somewhat unlikeable - but isn't the point of reading to experience the
Denise Lauron
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I didn't have an audiobook hold available from the library, and this was available.

I felt that the author tried to touch on many controversial topics - racism, homophobia, classism, suicide, etc - and did none of them well. There were too many characters to cover in such a short book.

Also, the editor needed a little help with the hospital scene. The description of the oxygen mask and respirator made very little sense. Also, he was sent from the ICU to the ICU ? It didn
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, a solid debut novel by Vatner but rather a slog to read. Overall, this seems to be a novel about various forms of partnerships/relationships if you will. Relationships include marriage, betrothals and just getting off the ground twosomes. Then there are the familial relationships, work relationships etc etc.
It is a very good basis for a story - it's just rather long winded and the characters didn't draw me in, some were rather predictable.
Writing about many owners in an apartment build
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JONATHAN VATNER is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Poets & Writers; and many other publications. He has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University. He lives in Yonkers with his husband and cats. Carnegie Hill is his first novel. ...more

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