Publisher’s Summary: In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend―the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose―does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever. Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job―and her future. The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.
Set in New York City a generation apart, Susan Orman Schnall crafts a story that is heartfelt and spunky. Schnall’s dual protagonists, Charlotte and Olivia, live roughly seventy years apart; yet, struggle to find the same personal and professional success in the grueling world of New York City advertising. Both timely and relevant, Schnall’s The Subway Girls paints an all too realistic portrait of young women, struggling to succeed in a male dominated world. As the novel moves back-and-forth between the 1940’s and present day, the parallels between Charlotte and Olivia’s lives are unmistakable.
Infused with wonderful historical trivia, The Subway Girls not only offers a thoughtful look at two women’s lives, but brings to light a long forgotten New York City pastime. It is no mistake that while both characters struggle to make it in the world of advertising, Charlotte is accepted into the Miss Subway Pageant, the winner of which would have her picture printed on posters and hung up on various New York City subway trains. A commentary on women’s equality in the workplace and women’s roles within present society, The Subway Girls explores sexism and gender profiling within its two stories; illustrating the advances women have made, and the struggles they still face.
If you are looking forward to warmer days and summer reading lists, keep Subway Girls on your beach read watch-list. The book is scheduled to debut in early July, and is sure to become a Summer hit. And, if you are a fan Schall’s previous novels, The Balance Project and On Grace, The Subway Girls will not disappoint. Schanll’s newest work continues to build meaningful relationships between characters, while exploring thoughtful personal exploration. The book is a page turner, as you are increasingly drawn into the lives of Schnall’s two protagonists. While the book is simply constructed, Schnall’s story is engaging; light at times, but with serious issues at its heart.