Cover Image: Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

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I really wanted to love this book but I felt like it was a little flat.   I wanted more from the story than what was written and the past parts felt like the dragged on a bit.
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*Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Books for the advanced e-copy.  Publish date 4/25*

A young girl named Estee Lauder decided to sell her beauty creams and cleansers at a rented table in a beauty shop in 1938.  Armed with determination and the unwavering belief that her products were better than any sold in department stores, she set upon a path to take the cosmetic world by storm.  Estee meets a shampoo girl named Gloria Downing, and a lasting friendship is formed.  Both have a rocky road to travel - professionally and privately - and both discover that secrets cannot stay secret forever.  Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl is an interesting glimpse into Estee Lauder as a woman and as a trailblazer.
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When Gloria’s father goes to prison for fraud, she loses everything and must entirely rebuild her life. Fortunately, she quickly meets Estée Lauder, a dynamo who plans on building an empire via beauty products and knows how to craft an identity. Working together, can Gloria and Estée achieve their dreams, or will their pasts and societal strictures stymie them? “Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl” presents a fictionalized rendering of Estée Lauder’s efforts in building one of the premiere brands.

Rosen does a great job illuminating Lauder’s life with believability and interest. She also manages to weave in some interesting thematic concerns, such as the roles of honesty and personal relationships. Very entertaining!
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In New York City, a woman named Estée Lauder was busy making face creams and lotions in her small apartment. In 1938, employment was hard to come by and war was on the horizon. Her husband Joe floundered from one menial job to the next, making little and spending most of his time watching their young son, Leonard. Estée started by selling her products in small beauty parlors, giving away facials and free samples to any woman who had a moment to spare. As her product line grew so did her visions of fame and fortune. One day Estée befriends Gloria, the new shampoo girl. Younger and less assured, Estée takes Gloria under her wing and fills her with a drive and confidence she never dreamed of. Gloria grew up extremely wealthy, a pampered socialite - but when her father went to Sing Sing for a Ponzi scheme, her entire world was instantly destroyed overnight. Having changed her last name to Downing, this was a secret she would never reveal to anyone. As Estée’s products battle her rivals Revlon, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden she remains laser focused on getting her products into Saks Fifth Avenue. Together these two brave, spirited women helped each other strive for business success and personal happiness, determined to prove women really could have it all. A fascinating work of historical fiction based on the true life story of cosmetics icon Estée Lauder. I could not put down this well written, fascinating journey back in time.
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Estee Lauder’s rise in the make-up business was a story of good products, persistence, hard work, and creative thinking. In this work of historical fiction, we learn about Estee’s life and secrets through the fictional friendship with Gloria Downing who has secrets of her own. In the 1930s where you come from, who your parents were, and your family’s origins could really hold you back from people accepting you or being able to achieve your ambitions. But what is the toll on you or your friendships if you lie to them and they don’t know who you are? How Estee and Gloria navigate the beauty and fashion business in New York City through the Depression and WWII creating lives of their own making is a fascinating thing to watch in this novel. I will never go to a make-up counter again and not think of Estee after reading this book…what a marvel!

Many thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy of the book.
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I enjoyed this book and hearing about the story of Estée Lauder! I appreciated the character development and engaging storyline. It was very interesting reading about everything Estee went through to get her business up and running. What an inspiration that she never gave up in making her dreams come true. I’d round this up to a 3.5 star review.
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In a world that would eat men for lunch Gloria Downing in Estée Lauder walked into the fray not knowing what to expect only knowing what they wanted in Wished for. These two women made STE a household name. They say truth is stranger than fiction and that is true and something that kept coming up in my mind as I read 5th Ave., Glamour girl by Renee Rosen because of what glorious daddy did she change her name and because of Estés loyalty it would change her life. Through there troubles with romance The sin of being a woman in a man’s world and all the things that create a friendship and a life is all in this book and trust me when I say it is so worth reading. I think Renee Rosen is one of the best historical fiction writers and I absolutely have loved all of her books this one included. I did it read Estee Lauder‘s autobiography but I definitely want to read it now I am old enough to remember when you bought over $35 of Estaees product you always got a great gift for free. Are used to love her perfume but now I’m getting away from this great book and talking about myself if you love historical fiction then you definitely need to read fifth Avenue glamour girl by Renee Rosen you will not be disappointed I love this book it’s toll through Gloria’s point of view but she was her best friend and has an interesting story herself. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
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Just before WWII in NYC is an exciting place to be. Unless you are Gloria, whose father was just sent to prison for embezzlement. After changing her name and trying to start over, she befriends a beautiful and ambitious Estee Lauder. Estee is determined that her beauty treatments are the best around and that she will have them in the most exclusive department store- Saks Fifth Avenue. When Gloria gets a job there, Estee knows it is meant to be. But can their friendship survive all the secrets and ambitions of both women?

This book is historical fiction at its finest. I loved the time and place setting and learning about a famous woman who I knew nothing about. Setting the book from the perspective of her closest friend was brilliant and added a layer of depth to the story of her rise to fame. Gloria was a great foil for Estee and I loved this complicated friendship and the strength and vulnerabilities of both women. This will be a great discussion book. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy for review. 4.5 stars
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I wanted to read this book about Estee Lauder because I was a user of some of her products when I was younger.  I would also occasionally read about her in the NY newspapers, in the gossip columns, and as a New Yorker, I was interested in the shenanigans of NY celebrities.  Add to that the fact that I once saw Estee Lauder in her offices when I went to visit my cousin, who worked for her at 666 5th Avenue.  I just wanted to learn how she started and how she became so famous.

From the very beginning though, I found myself more drawn to Gloria's story than Estee Lauder's.  I thought it was a brilliant device that Renee Rosen used to tell the story of E. L. by fashioning a friendship in which both Gloria and Estee were guilty of some form of deception.  All of us have been guilty of deception of one form or another.  And as Gloria says near the end of the novel, and I paraphrase, "All lies have their motivations, some certainly more benign than others".  So which of the women's lies was more benign than the other's?  That is indeed the question Ms. Rosen attempts to address in this wonderful novel.

I just couldn't put the book down once I started.  I loved the writing and I loved the story.
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Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renée Rosen

I knew very little about Estée Lauder before I read this book. Since it's historical "fiction" I was able to sit back and enjoy the portrayal of Estée and not mind that her words and actions in the story wouldn't/couldn't be exactly what she did and said in real life. At the end of the story, the author even gives us examples of how she changed the story from things that really happened in Estée's life. I come away from the story, knowing I want to read more about her but also knowing that the truth can be murky, with Estée being the person who set it up to be the murkiest. 

Overlaying the story of Estée is the entirely fictional story of Gloria Downing. Gloria's wealthy family has lost it all, thanks to her father's Ponzi scheme gone bust. Thanks to Gloria's father, people lost everything they had invested with him. Gloria's father and family is hated and while her mother and siblings back her imprisoned father, Gloria wants nothing to do with him. So she changes her name to Gloria Downing and having lost her fiancé to the scandal, is on her own, with barely a penny to her name. 

While working as a lousy shampoo girl, Gloria meets Estée and they become friends. Through Estée and others who mentor Gloria, she learns the value of hard work, of earning her own way, of finding what she really wants to do as a career. This is where Gloria succeeds but in other areas of her life, Gloria flounders. Self sabotage is Gloria's forte, grabbing all the guilt of her father's sins and taking them onto herself like a second skin. Gloria is her own worst enemy and can't seem to allow herself to be happy. 

Throughout the story, Estée and Gloria are best friends who can't go long without fighting about something. Both have secrets, both have trust issues, both have areas where they lack confidence. Estée is a workhorse, never giving up her dream to have it all. She believes in herself but she makes things up because she thinks she has to do so for others to believe in her. Gloria thinks she's worth little because of the actions of her father. This story is very interesting with the coming together and diverging of both women in each other's lives. Estée's story is interesting but so is fictional Gloria's story. Overall this was a very satisfying read and I know I want to read more about Estée Lauder, now. 

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley and NetGalley for this ARC.
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Full review coming soon!

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the review copy.

Opinions are mine.
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Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl 
By Renee Rosen 
Pub Date: April 25 
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This story reimagines the life of Estée Lauder through a friend, Gloria. 
The only difference is Estee knows what she wants and Gloria does not. I’d prefer the story focus on Estee. I liked: the story has a brisk pace, the dialogue is entertaining, the characters are flawed by realistic, I highly recommend this book for readers who like biographical fiction. 1900’s. And a North American setting. 
4 stars
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I thought this would be a book about yet another cosmetic mogul.  It's so much more!  It's a fascinating look inside what it might take to create a cosmetics empire from scratch and depicts Estee Lauder as a force to be reckoned with.  Rosen's story inspired me to do even more research into the life of Estee Lauder.  Read this book to find out what lies behind the mask of glamour.
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Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl was another amazing story about the iconic Estee Lauder. It's told through the eyes of Gloria Downing, a friend and integral character in getting to know Estee. 
Rosen casts a wide net on research and shows the utter determination Estee instilled in her work ethic. I love how these historic characters are unpeeled through story telling. 
Well done!
Links coming soon!
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I want to say it was about two years ago when Rosen posted a hint that Estée Lauder would be the subject of her next novel. I knew right then I had to get my hands on it. I waited patiently and finally the day arrived. 

This is my favorite sub-genre of historical fiction — pulling back the curtain and elevating the stories of trailblazing women. I loved learning about the beginnings of Estée Lauder, the cosmetic brand that transformed the industry. It was an enjoyable read. I did find the main character to be a little bit exhausting and would have liked to hear about the journey of the brand even after Estée landed Saks and Neiman Marcus. However, it was still a book I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGallety for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I tend to like fictional reimaginings of famous figures, and although I'm not into cosmetics in any way, I found the idea of a book about Estée Lauder interesting. While I did find Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl to be a fun read with lots of drama, optimism, and determination, it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be.

I think my biggest issue was that I wanted more of the focus to be on Estée rather than the fictional character serving as our narrator. Gloria "Downing" is running from her family's major scandal and finds herself crossing paths with cosmetic maker Estée Lauder. The two become friends, and over the next several years, Gloria forges her own path while helping Estée make her cosmetics a success. While I found Gloria's story to be interesting, I thought the plot in general went around in circles a bit--Estée would do something that Gloria disliked, the two would fight, they'd make up; wash, rinse, repeat. That's realistic enough, but they always seemed to fight about the same things and never seemed to come to a real resolution.

I also had an issue with the time jumps. The first part of the story takes place over a shorter period of time, and then chapters would skip entire years. It's fine to not write about every single day, but going from very detailed to big jumps threw me off a bit. The dual timeline worked fine, although I would've liked a bit more from the 1980s timeline. 

Overall, Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl is a fictional story about Estée Lauder that suffers from not being enough about Estée Lauder. It's a quick and easy read, but not one I'd recommend.
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What do you do when your dad is convicted in a Ponzi scheme and social network and financial resources disappear. I guess you dye your hair, change your name and try to get a job, maybe as a shampoo girl. This is what Gloria does in 1938 NYC. Oh and she happens to meet Estee, a woman selling face cream at the beauty parlor. This is the start of  a friendship and a story. We get to see Estee Lauder's rise to sucess through Gloria's eyes. It is a fun read and made me really want to do improve my skin care regime.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing  an ARC of this title.
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Estee Lauder and Gloria Downing both came from money, but both families had lost their fortunes.

Gloria's family lost their money when her father was arrested for a Ponzi scheme. 

That is when Gloria changed her name because of the stigma her name held.

Both women had to work now, but the only difference was that Estee was ambitious, and Gloria had no skills and wasn't a go getter.

Actually Gloria didn't know how to do anything - she had never worked a day in her life.

The women met while Gloria was a shampoo girl in the shop where Estee had her side shop of creams.

They worked together for a while, but Estee went her way and Gloria finally got a position as a shopgirl in Saks Fifth Avenue where she used to shop and spend her father's money.

We follow both women as they make their way on their own even though Estee was married and had a child.

It was fun joining both women and spending their days with them and learning about their lives during this era.

FIFTH AVENUE GLAMOUR GIRL is another entertaining, well-researched read by Ms. Rosen.

Fans of Ms. Rosen, cosmetic lines, this era, women succeeding, and name dropping will enjoy this book. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
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I've always loved historical fiction and this book is no  exception.  It's the story of Estee Lauder and her rise to fame  in 1946.  The story is told by her best friend Gloria.  Gloria has a family history that she is ashamed of and she tries to hide it from Estee and as their friendship grows it becomes more and more impossible.  As a lot of friendships go, misunderstandings mount and come to a head.  I found this book to be interesting and especially enjoyed reading a novel that takes place in this time period.
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In 1938, Gloria Downing is struggling. Born to a life of privilege, everything changed when her father was arrested for bilking high society people out of their investments and is sent to prison. Because of the notoriety surrounding his case, Gloria changes her last name and tries to find a way to support herself even though she has never worked a day in her life. She ends up working as a shampoo girl in a beauty shop. There she meets a young woman named Estée Lauder who is trying to sell her face cream in the beauty shop. Estée is sure that her product is much better than the other big names in cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden, Charles Revson (Revlon) and Helena Rubinstein and she wants everyone to know this.

When they first meet, Gloria doesn’t care for her pushy manner and her continually upbeat personality but they eventually become friends as Estée takes Gloria under her wing and helps her find her way in this new world without money. Things aren’t perfect between them and they are both keeping secrets that will only come out years later but despite the ups and downs of their friendship the two women remain connected to each other. This is a fascinating glimpse into the cosmetic industry and the resilience of two women who are flawed but determined to forge careers and follow their dreams despite the difficulties they encounter.

I have read several of Renée Rosen’s historical fiction novels and have really enjoyed them. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl is no exception and I really love the book’s cover. I also loved the author’s notes at the end explaining more about the events in this book. It will be published on April 25, 2023 so mark your calendars!

Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for the Advanced Reading Copy.

The Block Party
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