By Nathan James
When a quartet of high-society women, living their lives in the rarefied circles of New York’s “beautiful people” encounter personal drama, romantic trials, or just want to let their hair down and be at ease, they turn to their perennial sounding board and “gay best friend” in Nathan Hale Williams’ delightful new novel that follows them through a year in the Big Apple, the Hamptons, and a veritable tour de force of familiar NYC locations, giving the tome a fine authenticity that sets the stage for this engaging tale.
We meet the protagonist’s four “sister-friends” –Vikki, Lauren, Rebecca, and Ruby–as the book opens during a birthday gathering for our hero, (who bears a surprising similarity in his tastes, age, and persona to the author–but I digress), amid much jocose revelry. Each of the girls has a wit and candor all her own, and as the story unfolds, their interweaving storylines give us a slice-of-life look at relationships, wealth, and soul-searching that accompanies a fascinating twelve month odyssey.
Williams spins a yarn with complex themes about approaching middle age, loneliness, love, life among the moneyed elite, and heartbreak, all while maintaining the frenetic big-city pace of Gotham, where anything is possible.
Although Williams, a longtime writer, actor, filmmaker, and entertainment lawyer, (his latest film project, “Love For Passion” premieres soon) lives in Los Angeles today, it’s clear in the pages of “Ladies Who Lunch & Love“, that his heart in still in his native Manhattan.
The book is as much a paean to NYC as it is an eclectic blend of “Soul Food” and the “Housewives” reality TV shows, but with a gentler edge, where each character discovers essential truths about themselves and those they love, comes to terms with their issues, and reconciles affairs with themselves and those around them.
Williams’ man-about-town protagonist, however, is never identified or addressed by name, leading me to guess it’s a loosely fictionalized version of himself, and although the girls are unabashedly real, their wealth and social status sometimes makes their personae light and slightly superficial, when a bit more gravitas might have added greater impact to their characters. In sum, however, I found “Ladies Who Lunch & Love” a fine, leisurely read, in any season–it does, after all, span a full year–and I think you’ll pass through its pages with a knowing smile, too.
You can get your copy via Amazon, and at bookstores everywhere. Discover more about Nathan Hale Williams at www.nathanhwill.com.