Review: New Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

A young Southern woman of modest means suddenly finds herself thrust into New York’s high society when she discovers that she is the illegitimate daughter of a recently-deceased billionaire.

Savannah Morgan had high hopes. She dreamed of becoming a writer and escaping her South Carolina town, where snooty debutantes have always looked down on her. But at twenty-four, she’s become a frustrated ex-cheerleader who lives with her mother and wonders if rejecting a marriage proposal was a terrible mistake. Then Savannah’s world is shaken when she learns the father she never knew is Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who has left Savannah his fortune on the condition that she move to Manhattan and work at his global news corporation. Putting aside her mother’s disapproval, Savannah dives head first into a life of wealth and luxury that is threatened by Edward’s other children–the infuriatingly arrogant Ned and his sharp-tongued sister, Caroline, whose joint mission is to get rid of Savannah. She deals with their treachery along with her complicated love life, and she eventually has to decide between Jack, a smooth and charming real estate executive, and Alex, a handsome aspiring writer/actor. Savannah must navigate a thrilling but dangerous city while trying to figure out what kind of man her father truly was.

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Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s sophomore offering, New Money, is a departure from her first book, Other Words for Love, but both novels have the same sense of heart and feature a main character fighting to stay true to herself.
New Money begins in the small South Carolina town where the main character, Savannah, was raised by her single mother. Savannah, now 24, often wonders if she made the right choices in her life. After all, her current situation – a dead-end job, an unused college degree, single, and disillusioned – isn’t what she’d dreamed of for herself. All that changes with a simple phone call: Savannah is the illegitimate daughter of Edward Stone, the recently deceased millionaire, and she’s been included in his will. Stone has left her his entire fortune, but, in exchange for her inheritance, she must move to New York and take a job within his company. Many things await Savannah in NYC, including two bitter half-siblings, a luxurious lifestyle, not one but two suitors, and drama and gossip, two things she’d hoped she’d left behind in SC. Savannah isn’t sure her rags to riches story will have a happy ending, but it’s abundantly clear her new situation will challenge everything she believes in.
While the premise of New Money is pretty straight forward, I still enjoyed following Savannah’s story. Though she has a good heart, she isn’t a perfect person, which makes her both frustrating and easy to relate to. Still, she redeems herself with her honesty. She admits when she’s wrong and doesn’t deny her faults.
My favorite character, however, was not Savannah but her new-found sister-in-law, Kitty. She’s a strong, independent, successful woman, who comes from money but never seems to take it for granted or believe that it makes her any better than others. I would definitely read a book where Kitty was the main character – I feel like there is so much more to learn about her!
New Money has the feel of television series fueled by drama, secrets, and good-looking men. It’s light, clean fun that I fully recommend.

Thomas Dunne Books, September 2013, Hardcover, ISBN: 9781250025357, 336 pgs.

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