The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is tres exclusive. Undesirables need not apply. Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware (Frede to her friends) is a member beyond reproach...until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it's something Frede would rather keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there's only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge: Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede's tony neighborhood. But htere's a price: She has to get his tacky, four-inch-stiletto-and-pink-spandex-wearing wife Nikki into the Junior League.
Linda Francis Lee has written an hysterical novel about the creme de la creme of Texas society, the lengths to which one woman goes to bring her cheating husband to justice, and how taking on what seems like a "Mission Impossible" can change you in ways you could never have imagined.
Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware ("Frede" to her friends) is a 28-year-old extremely moneyed member of the "tres 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.)
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1 . Easy read
Posted July 20, 2010 by Jenni B , Fort MyersThis was such a great read. Very easy and funny. I read this while on vacation and would catch myself laughing out loud!
St. Martin's Press
July 10, 2007
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Excerpt from The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee
The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is tres exclusive, one of the oldest and most elite women's societies in the country. And we work hard to keep it that way. Outsiders need not apply.
I know it sounds terrible. But really, if I don't explain everything exactly, in all its unvarnished truth, how will you ever understand how it was possible that I got myself into what I now call the "unfortunate situation" and how all the gossip about moi got started.
So yes, it's true that we at the Junior League of Willow Creek are all about being made up of the creme de la creme of society. Do you believe the richest of the rich in Texas would donate money, weeks on their sprawling ranches, or lunches in their elegant mansions to just anyone? I think not. And how do you think we raise all those bundles of money that we turn around and give away to the needy?
From the above-mentioned rich.
I am Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware, and despite the antiquated sound of my name, I'm only twenty-eight years old. My friends call me Frede--pronounced Freddy. My husband calls me "Fred."
I like to think of the collective members of the JLWC as a sort of female Robin Hood (though better dressed since, God knows, not one of us would be caught dead in tights) who cajoles money out of her rich husband and indirectly out of his rich company as she lies in bed at night rubbing her perfectly manicured toes up against his leg.
It goes something like this:
Laying the groundwork.
"Sweetie, if Basco, Branden, and Battle donates a trip on their private jet for the League's Christmas Fair Silent Auction, whisking the lucky winner away to Aspen for a week of skiing, I'm sure it would be one of the top money earners, if not the top earner at the Fair."
Framing the competition.
"Of course you heard, didn't you, that Robert Melman has offered up his company yacht for a Caribbean cruise? Mindy Melman, bless her heart, gloated all through the last General Meeting when she got to announce the news."
Closing the deal.
"You know it's tax deductible, sugar. And after Basco got in that tiny little tiff with the State Bar Ethics Committee last month, I'm certain if the firm donates to a charity of our stature it will certainly give Basco a big gold star. Besides, you remember, don't you, that the Ethics Committee chairman is Jim Wyman, Cecelia Wyman's husband?"
Sex follows some of the time, though the donation is guaranteed.
To be completely honest, not every member is married, and certainly not every member of the JLWC is fabulously wealthy. Mind you, no one is headed for the poorhouse--well, maybe a few are who invested badly, pretended they had more than they did, or got tangled up with nasty habits that cost beaucoup amounts of m-o-n-e-y to support. And really, who wants that sort of member anyway, so the sooner they get to the poorhouse and can't pay their dues, the better. Why prolong their misery, I say.
I know, I sound even worse than terrible now, but truly, it's the charitable thing to do to give a gentle nudge out the door so they don't keep spending what they no longer have in an ill-fated attempt to save face.
As I mentioned, the JLWC is made up of the creme de la creme of Willow Creek society, no question, but within the League, there are different tiers.
Tier One: Wealthy members with socially prominent names, which trumps . . .
Tier Two: Members with socially prominent names but no significant wealth, which trumps . . .
Tier Three: Members with m-o-n-e-y but no name.
To secure a place at any level in the JLWC, a woman's reputation must be beyond reproach, she must gain the full endorsement of six members in good standing who have known her for a minimum of five years--be they active members or "retired" members called "sustainers"--and pass the interview process with the membership committee.