Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a fine Italian immigrant family in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1950. Fuelled by the post-war boom, in which talented girls with ambition are encouraged to follow their dreams, Lucia becomes an apprentice for a made-to-wear clothing designer at a chic department store on Fifth Avenue. Though she is sought after as a potential wife by the best Italian families, Lucia stays her course and works hard, determined to have a career. She juggles the roles of dutiful daughter and ambitious working girl perfectly. When a handsome stranger comes to the story and catches her eye, it is love at first sight for both of them. In order to win Lucia's hand, he must first win over her traditional family and make the proper offer of marriage. Their love affair takes an unexpected turn as secrets are revealed, Lucia's family honour is tested, and her own reputation becomes the centre of a sizzling scandal. Set in a time of possibility and change for women in America, in a city that celebrates its energy with style and elegance, LUCIA, LUCIA is the story of a girl who risks everything for the belief that a woman could - and should - be able to have it all.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Everything about this novel, set in 1930s New York, is achingly stylish - from the author's name to the slinky jacket design. Katey Kontent, daughter of Russian immigrants, and Evie Ross, from the sleepy midwest, are an ambitious, wisecracking pair who, despite lack of money and connections, aim to set the city alight. A fortuitous meeting with the apparently wealthy Tinker Grey on New Year's Eve, 1937, will change the course of both their lives.

Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

Rural Irish girl Ellie loves living in New York, working as a lady’s maid for a wealthy socialite. She tries to persuade her husband, John, to join her but he is embroiled in his affairs in Ireland, and caught up in the civil war. Nevertheless Ellie is extremely happy and fully embraces her sophisticated new life. When her father dies she must return home, but she intends to sort her affairs quickly and then return to her beloved America. But once home her sense of duty kicks in and she decides, painfully, that she must stay to look after her mother and resume her marriage. Ellie is suddenly thrown into the simple, rural life she believed she had grown out of…

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

There's nothing like a dental chair to remind a man that he's alone in the world . . . Paul O'Rourke - dentist extraordinaire, reluctant New Yorker, avowed atheist, disaffected Red Sox fan, and a connoisseur of the afternoon mochaccino - is a man out of touch with modern life. While his dental practice occupies his days, his nights are filled with darker thoughts, as he alternately marvels at and rails against the optimism of the rest of humanity. So it goes, until someone begins to impersonate Paul online. What began as an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something far more soul-frightening: the possibility that the virtual 'Paul' might be a better version of the man in the flesh . . .

Sex wars by Marge Piercy

About the book Life is hard in post-Civil War New York, but change is in the air. Immigrants are pouring into the city, bringing a new spirit in their wake. Among them is Freydeh, who lives in a tiny tenement flat with eight others and works at as many jobs as she can handle in… Continue reading Sex wars by Marge Piercy

The Interpretation of murder by Jed Rubenfeld

About the book The Interpretation of Murder' is an inventive tour de force inspired by Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to America, accompanied by protege and rival, Carl Jung. Reviewed by Forest Arts The group enjoyed the descriptive passages concerning the building of New York. Not many sympathetic characters - plenty of corruption, even the coroner… Continue reading The Interpretation of murder by Jed Rubenfeld