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The Devil in the Junior League Paperback – July 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware ("Frede" to her friends) is a 28-year-old extremely moneyed member of the "très exclusive" Junior League of Willow Creek, Tex., and lives her life according to unwritten club rules about fashion and etiquette. So when her husband, Gordon, has an affair, steals her family money and flees the country, Frede wants to keep the disaster quiet to maintain her elite status. The only person in town she can turn to is her tactless neighbor, Howard Grout, who agrees to be her lawyer if Frede gets his wife, Nikki, who is far from a charming Southern belle, into the Junior League. As Frede sands down Nikki's gaudy edges, she learns a few simple lessons about life (paramount among them is that money doesn't buy love and happiness). Howard, meanwhile, proves to be a formidable attorney and follows Gordon's money trail all the way to a satisfyingly vengeful ending. Lee (Simply Sexy; Sinfully Sexy), a former debutante, certainly knows her material, though it's hard to muster much sympathy for an airy narrator who lives and dies by the shallow strictures of Texas society, maddeningly refers to herself as "moi" and prefers to spell, but not say, m-o-n-e-y. 100,000 announced first printing.(Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware understands that revenge is a dish best served cold--on a fine lace tablecloth with crustless cucumber sandwiches and sweetened tea. Known as "Frede" to her fellow socialites, she is the quintessential Junior Leaguer in Willow Creek, Texas. She has, however, made a fatal mistake by trusting her husband, who has disappeared with her money and another woman. Frede's neighbor, attorney Howard Grout, is loud and crass, but he is also one of the most aggressive lawyers in the state, and he makes Frede an offer she can't afford to refuse. He'll hunt down her lowlife husband if Frede gets his good-hearted but gaudy wife into the Junior League. The snobbish Frede begins as Professor Henry Higgins in this Pygmalion tale; then she also undergoes a transformation. The delightful realism of this wickedly funny tale and its viciously witty but oh-so-refined dialogue may stem from the fact that talented Lee is also a "seriously seasoned Junior Leaguer." Shelley Mosley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312354975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312354978
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I'm not writing, I'm exploring NYC. Come along for the ride as I search out the best spots in the Big Apple! Bestselling author of EMILY & EINSTEIN: A Novel of Second Chances and THE GLASS KITCHEN: A Novel of Sisters

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Devil in the Junior League is a wickedly delicious romp in the lives of Texas society women. The Willow Creek Junior League has only the most refined, St. John's knit-wearing members. This is a club full of unspoken rules--diamonds should never be worn before dinner, and a lady should never wear a watch after 6 PM, lest people think she is worried about time.

So, when our narrator, Frede Hildebrand, gets caught up in circumstances which require her to mentor an unlikely white trash Junior League candidate, the unfortunate subject of an overpriced and excessively extravagant diamond watch comes into play. No diamonds before six, and no watches after six? Well, yes. There is no place for diamond encrusted timepieces for the ladies of the Willow Creek Junior League.

Linda Francis Lee's latest novel is an unapologetic romp through obnoxious Southern society life. Don't dismiss this as mere chick lit--we've got a modern gal entrenched in Southern life, not looking for Mr. Right, and with no Boss to report to. Of course, a token gay friend does enter her realm and disrupt life as we know it, but the outcome is fairly unexpected. Lee has crafted a purely escapist novel about society politics, politics, and romance, with a twist of mystery and a sufficient number of double crosses.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Maudeen Wachsmith VINE VOICE on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was very upsetting to me when Olivia Goldsmith passed away several years ago as I had loved her wry sense of humor so. I do believe Linda Francis Lee must be channeling Olivia Goldsmith in this wonderful book, The Devil in the Junior League. She has the same fast pace and quick wit that were the hallmarks of so many of Goldsmith's bestsellers. I just loved this book from beginning to end and could hardly stand to put it down once I started it. It was just too much fun to see Gordon get what he justly deserved. I hope we see more of Frede Ware (and Sawyer!) in upcoming books by Ms. Lee. I will be chomping at the bit until I can get my hands on another Frede Ware book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mom of Sons VINE VOICE on January 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many well-written books these days are such downers, so full of angst and "writer's craft" that they are a chore to get through. "Devil in the Junior League" is a well-written, smart and FUN to read. Tres chic Junior League Texas high-society is not my world, but no matter -- every woman will recognize the ups and downs of female friendship, the phony "friends" who aren't really, the cattiness, insecurities, and one-upsmanship that starts in elementary school and lasts for a lifetime, if you let it. I hope they make a movie out of this!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Stears on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Linda Francis Lee's insider knowledge of the Junior League really made her main character come alive. Frede (pronounced "Freddy") is trapped in a lifestyle of privilege and wealth, forced to live according to others' expectations. She doesn't realize it, though, until her husband deceives her and steals all her money. Once she's free from the cumbersome burden of propriety, she finds her true self in the love of her friends. This is not only a fun read, it's a warning to women everywhere--don't trust anyone to run your life except you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on August 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Frede (pronounced "Freddy") Ware is a Texas socialite comfortable in her role as a member of the Junior League of Willow Creek. To join the JLWC's ranks, a woman must be beaucoup rich and très magnifique. A spattering of French expressions never hurts a prospective member's chances, either.

As an upstanding member of the JLWC, Frede is in the running for the position of president-elect. Of course, this just has to be the time for her husband to betray her with an affair--and by stealing all of her money. A sponge from the beginning, Gordon has taken Frede's trust in him and broken it worse than a poorly manicured fingernail.

Now Frede's NC ("No Class," pronounced "Nancy") neighbor, attorney Howard Grout, is her only hope for getting her m-o-n-e-y back, with a side dish of revenge. If she can get his très tacky wife into the posh JLWC, he'll help find Gordon. Although Frede cringes at the deal, she agrees. All she can do is hope that none of her debutante friends find out that she's alone and almost penniless. After all, one must keep up appearances.

For anyone familiar with Junior League society, this book is a laugh-out-loud riot. For anyone who ever made fun of or looked down on the über-elite, this book is a laugh-out-loud riot. Frede's arrogant attitude might make some readers despise her, but the defining events in this book open her eyes to appearances other than those appreciated by the crème-de-la-crème of Willow Creek.

The writing in this novel is fantastic. The only drawback is that many readers will have a hard time sympathizing with Frede. Not only is she an upper-class snob, but for a seemingly intelligent woman, she proves she can make some seriously stupid moves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Crafty Pease on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
An Spirit-lifting Story That Pokes Humor Well!

Although the characters seem a bit stereotypical, it allows readers from other regions of America to understand the ways of a southerner by the over-emphasized personalities. I am from New England and trust me, the image the author paints about us isn't too flattering (thick eyebrows, dark clothes and mostly cerebral) and I only had to laugh at the how the Texans (big hats, long cars and loud JRs.) think we are.

Her characters are written with the intention to not insult (certainement pas) but to help emphasize how non-static the main character really is. It is also the only way to convey the character's transition from selfish and unaware to enlightening and understanding Trust me, there's a transformation and it's fun to read as it happens!!!

Starting from the "right side of the tracks" and being sent to the "wrong side" only to find it more liberating and satisfying, makes the book a good example for any teenager or young adult. Having followed a very similar path, I know how life can roughen even the most polished edges, strengthening a person and making them much wiser. Life isn't about "m-o-n-e-y". Both Frede and I are vera vera sure!!! Having the silver spoon replaced by a plastic one can be very LIBERATING!!! (ALTHOUGH I still refuse wear an anklet or pierce more than an ear -- LOL!).

After reading the author's "mini autobiography" in the book, I realize she is having a great time poking fun at her own upbringing. Comme exemple: competing in a beauty contest and "thinking it was a good idea at the time". I am sure her days associatited with the Junior League are some of her most favorite memories. Being a Debutant is also something of which to be proud, for is it a tradition, very similar to other age-related celebrations in other cultures.

Bravo to Fred's husband for it was his nasty affair with Miss Mouse which propelled her into becoming a new and better person.
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