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.

Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale

When the married Isabella Robinson was introduced to the dashing Edward Lane at a party in 1850, she was utterly enchanted. He was 'fascinating', she told her diary, before chastising herself for being so susceptible to a man's charms. But a wish had taken hold of her, and she was to find it hard to shake... In one of the most notorious divorce cases of the nineteenth century, Isabella Robinson's scandalous secrets were exposed to the world. Kate Summerscale brings vividly to life a frustrated Victorian wife's longing for passion and learning, companionship and love, in a society clinging to rigid ideas about marriage and female sexuality.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

Lacey Yeager is beautiful, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the New York art world by storm. She begins her career at Sotheby's, amidst the winks and nods of the fabulously wealthy. But hungry for more - and pursued by a whiff of scandal - Lacey migrates to edgy Downtown, watching Hirsts and Warhols multiply in value before her eyes. Charming men and women, old and young, rich and even richer, Lacey's ascendancy seems assured. But when the art world bubble looks set to burst, a secret from her past rears its head, threatening to undermine everything she has worked for...