Three women: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and another who wants to give it all away! Meet Darley, Sasha and Georgina from an old-money, tennis-playing Brooklyn Heights family in New York. The Stockton family are large scale real estate investors who live in the historical ‘fruit streets’ of Brooklyn Heights – Pineapple, Orange and Cranberry. Darley followed her heart, trading her career and inheritance for motherhood. When her husband loses his job they are quickly headed towards a financial crisis. Meanwhile, her new sister-in-law, Sasha, from a middle-class family, was reluctant to sign a pre-nuptial agreement and has the wider family concerned about her intentions. She’s quickly nicknamed the GD, or gold digger.
The youngest of the family, Georgiana, has fallen in love with someone she shouldn’t have and must confront the kind of person she wants to be. A traumatic event prompts her to try and get rid of her $37 million fortune, but this turns out to be more complicated than she thought possible.
Aside from Darley, Sasha and Georgina, another key character is the original family home. It’s owned by parents, Tilda and Chip, who decide to downsize, but don’t want to sell their home. They invite their son Cord and daughter-in-law Sasha to move in. However, living rent-free comes at a cost for Sasha. It is nearly impossible to clear anything from the overstuffed house – antiques, childhood mementoes, the four-poster bed and velvet curtains! It’s also the home where Darley and Georgina grew up and their bedrooms remain full of school projects, photo albums and tennis trophies. No one wants to let go of their emotional attachment to the home or their memories of time spent there.
Pineapple Street is full of fabulous brunches, parties and weekend homes of New York’s seemingly glamourous one percenters. If you’re looking for an escapist novel, Pineapple Street delivers. However, behind the visible wealth, it’s a witty exploration of class, family, love and money. While Pineapple Street explores complex family dynamics of a super-rich family, it’s also universal in its themes. You’ll recognise many of the characters and situations they find themselves in.
Jenny Jackson is an editor at Knopf. Read an extract and follow Jenny Jackson online.
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Hutchinson Heinemann, RRP $37.00