A thought-provoking page-turner from the author of When You Read This and Privilege that captures the painful divide between the haves and have-nots and the seductive lure of the American dream.
Living in a tiny Queens apartment, Rebecca and her husband Mickey typify struggling, 30-something New Yorkers—he’s an actor, and she’s a freelance journalist. But after the arrival of their baby son, the couple decides to pack up and head for sunny, comfortable Palm Beach, where Mickey’s been offered a sweet deal managing the household of a multimillionaire Democratic donor.
Once there, he quickly doubles his salary by going to work for a billionaire: venture capitalist Cecil Stone. Rebecca, a writer whose beat is economic inequality, is initially horrified: she pillories men like Stone, a ruthless businessman famous for crushing local newspapers. So no one is more surprised than her when she accepts a job working for Cecil’s wife as a ghostwriter, thinking of the excellent pay and the rare, inside look at this famous Forbes-list family. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll grow close to the Stones, or become a regular at their high-powered dinners. And when a medical crisis hits, it’s the Stones who come to their rescue, using their power, influence, and wealth to avert catastrophe.
As she and Mickey are both pulled deeper into this topsy-turvy household, they become increasingly dependent on their problematic benefactors. Then when she discovers a shocking secret about the Stones, Rebecca will have to decide: how many compromises can one couple make?
Adkins (Privilege) delves into the world of Florida's wealthy excess with the fluffy story of a young family's move from New York City to Palm Beach. When actor Mickey damages his vocal chords, his theater career ends and he takes a lucrative job managing a Florida estate, bringing with him his freelance journalist wife Rebecca and their eight-month-old son, Bash. About a month into the new job, neighbor and "vulture capitalist" Cecil Stone offers to double Mickey's salary for a similar job. The socially conscious Rebecca is horrified that Cecil has built a fortune by decimating the companies he buys, though she gets cozy with Astrid, Cecil's outspoken wife of 30 years, and begins to change her attitudes about the ultrarich. (Astrid even hires Rebecca to ghostwrite her memoirs.) After the couple learns Bash might have a dangerous genetic disorder, the Stones use their far-reaching connections and wealth to help him. While a subplot involving an insider-trading scam feels contrived, Adkins's characters are reliably quirky, as with Cecil's habit of hoarding ketchup packets, a condiment Astrid "didn't believe in." Though it's not particularly memorable, it'll keep readers turning the pages.