352 pages ~ ★★★☆☆ ~ Netgalley eARC
As Jonathan Vatner’s debut novel, Carnegie Hill, opens we meet 33 year old Pepper or Penelope trying to find some meaning in her new life; she’s recently moved into an apartment in the expensive Chelmsford Arms in Carnegie Hill, near Central Park with fiance Rick where she’s joined the building’s co-op board to give her something to do while she plan her idyllic wedding to Rick, in a small ceremony in the park as soon as the weather improves.
>Things start to get complicated when Pepper’s parents refuse to give their blessing to the wedding unless they delay by another year; to try and cajole her parents into attending the whole event explodes into an huge, elaborately coordinated event which takes over Pepper’s whole life. With Pepper’s life taken over with wedding preparations a slightly neglected Rick starts to get messages online from Molly, when Pepper sees these she’s so caught up in everything else she’s chooses to ignore the feelings that her parents may have had a point regarding how quickly their relationship had moved. Caught up in the whirlwind the wedding goes ahead but can she overcome the seeds of doubt that have already been planted?
We follow several other couples centered around the Chemlsford Arms, mostly wealthier elderly couples who are coming to terms with retirement and in come cases their own mortality as well as a newly blossoming romance between two of the staff, which were personally my favourite characters.
I found myself getting quite frustrated with quite a few of the characters here, particularly Pepper I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Pepper/Rick’s backstories as I really couldn’t buy into their relationship which meant that ultimately the big question of will they stay together or not I was completely not fussed by. Not ever lived in an apartment I’m also not entirely sure how co-op boards work so there’s a fair amount of elections/board politics etc which weren’t completely lost on me but were slightly out of context and possibly a lot more important or poignant than I interpreted them. Its quite a character driven novel, focusing more on character and relationship development than plot so if that’s your kind of story then this is probably for you.
Carnegie Hill can currently be pre-ordered ahead of its release on 20th August. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy this in exchange for an honest review.