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Review: The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark

Title: The Overnight Socialite
Author: Bridie Clark
First Published: December 2009
Publisher: Weinstein books
Source: Received for free from FSB Associates for review
292 pages

On the flap
Lucy Ellis is a Manhattan transplant who dreams of making it as a fashion designer but instead toils away on a Garment District assembly line.One day, during a torrential downpour, at her most bedraggled, humiliated and disheartened, Lucy meets Wyatt Hayes IV. Wyatt (man-about-town and bored Ph.D. anthropologist) has just been publicly dissed by New York's reigning socialite, Cornelia Rockman, whom he'd been dating. He boasts to his best friend Trip that he can transform any woman -- even a trailer-born nobody like Lucy -- into this year's "It" girl and write a book about it.

Thence begins Wyatt's project and Lucy's transformation. But what happens after three months? Does Lucy get what she wants or will she be revealed as a fraud? Does Wyatt get recognized for his ground-breaking research or does he get plagued by his conscience?

A chick-lit book is always my pleasure-read. If it isn't fluffy and cheesy, of course. Bridie Clark's The Overnight Socialite was quite a delightful read that kept me hooked through its 292 pages.

My opinion
The Overnight Socialite started like a typical chick-lit book. We have the heroine who has everything going against her. A very low paying job. No career growth. A terribly embarrassing day that would make anyone want to scream her lungs out and curse the maker. And, she gets looked down on by the Who's who? of the socialite world. Exactly when she is on the verge of giving up, hope comes to her in the form of a man named Wyatt, who offers her the chance to transform her life in 3 months.

Wyatt, on the other hand, belongs to the upper echelon of the socialite world who insists on a blue-blood parentage in anyone who is part of the socialite circle. The moment he is shrugged aside by his callous and ambitious girlfriend, Cornelia Rockman, he yearns to do something about his life. And writing a book about transforming an ugly duckling into a gracious swan is his means to that end.

This book is a Princess Diaries meets celebrity tabloids kind of story. I found that I enjoyed this book at many levels. It was mildly funny and the behavior and beliefs of the socialites were quite laughable at times. Lucy's attempt to blend into the glamorous yet unforgiving world of the socialites gave me many a chuckle.

The writing was also impressive. As opposed to most chick-lit books, this is written in a non-fluffy style that I wouldn't associate with chick-lit books. Bridie Clark writes in a non-rambling style that worked well with my obsession with good writing.

However, although I liked this book, I wasn't captivated. I couldn't connect with any of the characters who I found very one-dimensional. I wasn't convinced. Most of the characters have the common threads of jealousy, mistrust, ambition flowing through them and at many points, we come across the question of money vs love. I liked watching how some characters came around from their former shallow selves. But after years of being someone or being with someone, I couldn't understand how they could change so conclusively in a day or a week. I thought the book lost a bit of its depth towards the final pages, which ran a bit rushed in its aim to grant closure to all the characters.

Overall, this was a good fun light read. I did enjoy reading it, especially the insights into the fashion industry and the lives of the socialites. I was impressed with the amount of research Bridie Clark did to write this novel. There are several tangential references to many well-known characters and events laced throughout the story, and many a time, that encouraged me to Google some of them. But I wish the plot was more believable and the characters more wholesome.

Title Demystified
Lucy Ellis is Wyatt's subject for his thesis on how one's ancestry and customs have no effect whatsoever on whether one can be a socialite or not. I can tell you that some parts of this research convinced me of Wyatt's belief. But like Cornelia, I found several gaps in the story put forward by Wyatt and Lucy.

Cover Art Demystified
The very fun-looking and chick-lit cover totally belies the kind of book The Overnight Socialite is. Sure, it is chick-lit, but not fluffy. Instead, it is a "mature" chick-lit, if that's possible. I love the midnight-blue cover that screams glamor and style!

What did you think?
Have you read this book? I'd like to know what you thought about it. Please leave your review link in the comments, or a brief opinion, if you hadn't reviewed it.

Did you like it or you didn't? If you didn't, at what point did the book turn you off.


Ash said…
This looks like it might be a good book to read during finals week, I've seen it around and I would never have considered it but I'm intrigued by your review.
Tales of Whimsy said…
Great review. I feel ya. Character connection is essential for me.
The1stdaughter said…
Now that I'm reviewing for as well I may add this to the list of books to review. I'm not big on the difficult character connection, but the story line sounds a little better than most chick lit books. Thanks for the great review, it really helped!
Hannah Stoneham said…
Interesting review - thank you for pointing out that this book is not necessarily what it looks like!

Great post - thanks for sharing

bermudaonion said…
This might be fun for the beach.
Although this is chick-lit, it's good to know that it's well written too. That's always a big aspect of a novel for me. I'll have to find this in the library if I'm looking for something light!
Athira said…
Ash, it was a fun read, you should read it. Reading during finals week sounds like a good idea too! :)

Juju, I'm with you girl!

Danielle, I'm sure you will love this then! This is way better than most chick-lit that I read!

Hannah, I hope you chose to read it! It was an entertaining read for me!

Kathy, ditto!

Emidy, I know .. I get irritated when I come across a book that rambles from page one to the last! This was pretty good.