New Money: A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Published: September 10, 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
Source: From the publisher for review - thank you!
A young Southern woman of modest means suddenly finds herself thrust into New York's high society when she discovers that she is the illegitimate daughter of a recently-deceased billionaire.
Savannah Morgan had high hopes. She dreamed of becoming a writer and escaping her South Carolina town, where snooty debutantes have always looked down on her. But at twenty-four, she's become a frustrated ex-cheerleader who lives with her mother and wonders if rejecting a marriage proposal was a terrible mistake. Then Savannah's world is shaken when she learns the father she never knew is Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who has left Savannah his fortune on the condition that she move to Manhattan and work at his global news corporation.
Putting aside her mother's disapproval, Savannah dives head first into a high-class life of wealth and luxury that is threatened by Edward's other children--the infuriatingly arrogant Ned and his sharp-tongued sister, Caroline, whose joint mission is to get rid of Savannah. She deals with their treachery along with her complicated love life, and she eventually has to decide between Jack, a smooth and charming real estate executive, and Alex, a handsome aspiring writer/actor. Savannah must navigate a thrilling but dangerous city while trying to figure out what kind of man her father truly was.
NEW MONEY is a keenly observed, fun yet wise peek into a world of privilege and glamour with a spirited and charming heroine at its center. [goodreads]
Reading this novel had me imagining it as a chick-flick, staring someone like Reese Witherspoon or Kate Hudson as the southern beauty who's making a big splash in the big apple. From the southern roots, where the story begins, to the hustle & bustle of New York City, Savannah Morgan takes us on a personal journey of her own.
Savannah never knew her father, until one day when she receives a phone call from a high power lawyer in New York City, proclaiming that Savannah's dad has just passed away and left his million dollar fortune to her name. She's a southern, well-mannered girl, with high hopes of leaving her mother's home and making something of herself someday, but this dream presents itself with a twist. Going against her mother's wishes, she takes the leap of faith and ventures into the City, hoping to find her future -- perhaps among her past.
Witnessing this southern girl navigate the brutality of the city was both frightening and fun to read about. One minute I was fearful of her naivety, then the next I was surprised by her bravery. Claiming to be the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man, who unexpectedly (and questionably) died, comes with a hefty price tag. She's labeled and judged immediately, facing a wall of criticisms. Trying to make it in a big city is hard enough, and these measures are only making it worse.
Savannah Morgan goes to New York to seek opportunities, finding it in new friends, new love, and a new career. The humor and charm written into her character helped carry the story through various layers. I recommend this novel to both YA and Adult readers. The 20-something year old protagonist guides the story with mature issues, but also has a fun lightness to it that many can relate to.
Where did the inspiration to write New Money come from?
When I was asked the same question about my first novel, Other Words for Love, I answered that it was inspired by many things—such as observation, experience, and imagination. I think this applies to all novels, including New Money.
Since your first novel is YA, how different was it to write older characters in your second novel? Do you have a preference between the two?
Although Other Words for Love has a teenage protagonist (Ari Mitchell) and deals with issues that are specific to her age, it also contains more mature themes—including depression, family dysfunction, unplanned pregnancy and a resulting marriage, etc. When I wrote Other Words for Love, I wasn’t targeting only a teen audience, as I believed that both YA and adult readers could relate to the story—and based on feedback I have received from readers of many ages, this is true. The adult characters in Other Words for Love—including Ari’s mother and twenty-three-year-old sister—play a big part in the novel and have their own back-stories. So when I was working on New Money, writing older characters didn’t feel particularly different. I enjoy writing YA and adult fiction equally, because people at every age have tough issues to confront and it’s interesting to explore all of them.
What made you choose the settings of South Carolina and New York City for this story?
I’m originally from NYC and know it well, so I enjoy writing about that setting and its subcultures, as I did in Other Words for Love. In New Money, the main character (Savannah Morgan) moves from a quiet town to a chaotic city, and Manhattan vs. Charleston (North vs. South) is a contrast that sparks a lot of conflict.
Without giving away any spoilers, which guy would steal your heart... the handsome businessman Jack, or the sexy free-spirited Alex?
They both have so much to offer! But like Savannah, I’d have to determine the better man before I could allow any heart-stealing!
If you could go back and re-live your early 20s, what is something you would do over, knowing what you know now?
I would stop myself from getting a certain hairstyle that did not work out well! (Haven’t we all been through that?)
Thank you so much Lorraine for answering my questions!
Look for New Money on September 10th.
About the Author: I was born and raised in New York City, where I went to high school in Queens at St. Francis Prep: www.sfponline. I graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa: www.usf.edu with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Education. I also earned a Master's degree in English, with a concentration in American and British Literature, from Northern Kentucky University: www.nku.edu which is located just across the bridge from Cincinnati.
In addition to being a novelist, I am a freelance writer. Currently, I review new DVD releases in film and TV for PopMatters, a popular culture webzine. My review archive is here: http://tinyurl.com/4bswtrl.
When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading, exercising, and spending time with my husband. - taken from author's website