Reviews for View from Penthouse B

Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
When meek and mousy middle sister ­Gwen-Laura is suddenly widowed and left with an empty, expensive New York City apartment, her baby sister, Betsy, suggests a win-win solution: move in with their older sister, Margot, freshly and scandalously divorced and burdened with a luxury penthouse she can no longer afford, thanks to Bernie Madoff. As different as chalk and cheese, Gwen and Margot nonetheless become compatible roommates, their differences mitigated by the addition of a third tenant, a cupcake-baking, Lehman Brothers-layoff victim: twentysomething Anthony. As Margot takes to cyberspace to rant about her reversal of fortune in a blog, Gwen reluctantly also turns to the web in an effort to get back into a dating game that has changed dramatically in the 30-plus years she's been out of circulation. Loosely inspired by events in the author's own life (I Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays) popular comedic novelist Lipman's (The Family Man, 2009) latest evokes the lonely world of the mature, newly single woman with a sweet and comforting touch. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
Lipman's latest is a post–financial-crash comedy about a 50-ish widow and her divorced sister living together in a Greenwich Village apartment. After the heart-attack death of her beloved husband, Gwen-Laura accepts her older sister Margot's invitation to move into Margot's penthouse both for companionship and to save money. Margo's ex, fertility doctor Charles, is in jail for behavior that was both scandalously illegal and adulterous. Margo, who made the unfortunate mistake of investing her divorce settlement with scam artist Bernie Madoff, is now not only divorced, but broke. Margo is a drama queen with a blog devoted to anti-Madoff resentment. Gwen-Laura is a bit of a retiring mouse who doesn't acknowledge her potential sex appeal. (Their bossy younger sister Betsy is still married, employed and financially solvent.) Soon, the sisters move in an unrelated, not exactly appropriate roommate: former Lehman Brother employee Anthony, who is not only gay, but in his 20s. Fueled by liquor and the wonderful cupcakes Anthony bakes, the three are having a lovely time together when Charles, newly sprung from prison, moves into a studio apartment in the same building and starts a campaign to win back Margot that includes introducing everyone to his newly discovered 19-year-old son, Chaz, the result of his fertility hanky-panky. Will Margot drop her new blog boyfriend, screen named HardUp, for narcissistic but maybe self-improving Charles? Will Gwen-Laura ever meet a decent man once she grudgingly enters the world of Internet dating? Will Anthony meet a decent man too? The answers are not terribly surprising, but Lipman is more interested in the jokes than the characters, taking a sitcom approach. Although the author throws in plenty of contemporary social details, Gwen-Laura and Margot feel dated, closer to the world of Auntie Mame than Girls and without the edge of either. This book has more romance and less satiric bite than the author's best comic novels (The Family Man, 2009, etc.). Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 February #2

Gwen-Laura Consadine, widowed and still grieving after two years, moves into a swanky Manhattan penthouse at her older sister Margot's invitation. Margot's place is a bit too much for her to keep on her own now that her money has been Madoff-Ponzied away, a fact that she chronicles on her little-read blog. Margot has reason to vent publicly: her ex-husband, a fertility specialist, is doing prison time for an überscandal. While Gwen needs to be shaken out of her grief and Margot needs to come out of her rage, both need occupation, money, and direction. Enter Anthony, their third roommate and a cupcake artist with a knack for handling older women. Anthony is essential when Gwen is determined to start a business built on the idea of the "Chaste Dates" for which she longs, and once the fertility doctor is back on the scene. VERDICT Lipman (Then She Found Me; The Inn at Lake Devine) hits her stride again. Middle-age love, family dynamics, and friendship makes her latest jarringly funny, touching, and vividly amusing.--Julie Kane, Sweet Briar College Lib., VA

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #2

After losing her divorce settlement in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Margot settles into a new penthouse in Greenwich Village with her widowed, jobless sister, Gwen-Laura Schmidt, and Anthony Sarno, a gay, recently laid-off, 20-something financier. The result, in Lipman's thin 11th novel (after The Family Man), is a makeshift homey boarding house for lost souls. After Margot's ex-husband Charles Pierrepont is released from a cushy prison, where he was serving time for inseminating patients at his OBGYN clinic with his own sperm, he moves into her building and begins to worm his way back into her life. Chaste Gwen-Laura decides to get back into the dating pool, but most of her suitors are more interested in sex than companionship. Meanwhile dynamic interloper Anthony tries to break the sisters out of their stalled state. Lipman's choppy dialogue rarely delves beneath the surface, and for an author known for her sense of humor, this novel is sorely void of laughs. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (Apr.)

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