Park Avenue Summer

Chicago author Renee Rosen describes her latest novel, Park Avenue Summer as “Mad Men Meets the Devil Wears Prada.”

Chicago-based author Renee Rosen typically writes novels about historic periods and people in Chicago, such as Windy City Blues; White Collar Girl and Dollface.

              But in Park Avenue Summer, her latest novel, which she describes as “Mad Men Meets The Devil Wears Prada,” she takes us to New York City during the era of Helen Gurley Brown, first female editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and the author of the scandalous ’60s best-seller, Sex and the Single Girl.

Like many of us, Rosen read Cosmo when she was young. Rosen remembers quickly flipping to the “Bedside Astrologer” column.

Author Renee Rosen

“I was looking for guidance on my 16-year-old love life,” she says, noting that all the time she spent poring over the glossy pages of Cosmo essentially shaped her view of female sexuality and female empowerment. “She changed the face of women’s magazines,” she said of Brown.

“Park Avenue Summer” tells the story of Alice (Ali), who moves to New York City after breaking up with her boyfriend and ends up getting her dream job, working for Cosmo.

Like she does for all her books, Rosen threw herself into full research mode, wanting to convey the story through Alice’s eyes.

“I even went down to the Port Authority to get the feel of what Alice would have seen and felt when she arrived,” Rosen says.

Because Rosen had lived on the Upper West side in New York for a year, she knew where Ali, as a single working girl, would live — an area in the East 60s called “the girl’s ghetto.” She walked the streets until she found the exact apartment she had envisioned for Ali.

All in the name of research, she visited Tavern on the Green, 21 Club, St. Regis and the Russian Tearoom, all swank places still in business that were popular back then. But best of all, a friend introduced her to Lois Cahall who had worked for Brown.

“Helen Gurley Brown was like a second mother to Lois,”  Rosen says.

“She and I became good friends, and she vetted the book for me. It was like a gift from the gods, because she knew so much about Brown and Cosmo and that time.”

Rosen is very much an admirer of Brown and what she accomplished.

“She really wanted to help women be their best,” she says. “She wanted them to know that they could get what they want even in what was then a man’s world.”


Author: Jane Simon Ammeson

Jane Simon Ammeson is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, food and personalities. She writes frequently for The Times of Northwest Indiana, Mexico Connect, Long Weekends magazine, Edible Michiana, Lakeland Boating, Food Wine Travel magazine , Lee Publications, and the Herald Palladium where she writes a weekly food column. Her TouchScreenTravels include Indiana's Best. She also writes a weekly book review column for The Times of Northwest Indiana as well as food and travel, has authored 16 books including Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-road Guide to America's Favorite President, a winner of the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award in Travel Books, Third Place and also a Finalist for the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Travel category. Her latest books are America's Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness and Classic Restaurants of Northwest Indiana. Her other books include How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away with It, A Jazz Age Murder in Northwest Indiana and Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana, all historic true crime as well Hauntings of the Underground Railroad: Ghosts of the Midwest, Brown County, Indiana and East Chicago. Jane’s base camp is Stevensville, Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Jane at;;;, and on her travel and food blog and book blog:

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