Are you a fan of Judith Krantz’s novels or new to her work? Whichever the case, this article will guide you through the best books to read and explore the life and career of this remarkable author. Krantz was an American novelist, journalist, and magazine editor whose career spanned over four decades. Her novels were known for their glamour, passion, and sensuality, making her a literary icon in the 1980s. Despite her passing in 2019, her books continue to inspire and delight readers today.
The Life and Career of Judith Krantz
Early Life and Education
Judith Krantz was born on January 9, 1928, in New York City. Her parents, Rose and Jack Tarcher, were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Krantz grew up in a family that valued literature, and her mother would read to her from a young age. She attended the Riverdale Country School, where she excelled academically, and later went to Wellesley College to study English literature.
While at Wellesley, Krantz was introduced to the works of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, and Henry James, among others. She was particularly drawn to the strong female characters in their novels and was inspired to create her own characters who were just as complex and compelling.
A Successful Career in Writing
After college, Krantz worked as a fashion editor for Good Housekeeping and later became a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine. However, it wasn’t until she was in her 50s that Krantz decided to pursue her passion for writing novels.
Her first novel, Scribble Scribble, a collection of essays, was published in 1974. However, her breakthrough came with her second novel, Scruples, which was published in 1978. The novel became an instant bestseller and spent over a year on The New York Times bestseller list. Krantz went on to write ten more novels, all of which were bestsellers.
Krantz’s novels were known for their vivid descriptions of high-end fashion, luxurious settings, and steamy romance. Her characters were often strong, independent women who were unafraid to pursue their ambitions and desires. Krantz’s writing style was praised for its witty dialogue and fast-paced plotlines.
Despite her success, Krantz faced criticism from some literary critics who dismissed her work as “trashy” or “fluff.” However, Krantz was unapologetic about her writing and believed that her novels provided a form of escapism for readers.
The Legacy of Judith Krantz
Krantz’s influence on popular culture cannot be overstated. Her novels were not only bestsellers but also inspired several TV adaptations and films. Krantz had a talent for creating characters that resonated with readers and viewers alike, and her books continue to be beloved by fans today.
Moreover, Krantz’s impact on the fashion industry was significant. Her descriptions of high-end fashion and glamorous settings inspired new trends and styles, and her influence can still be seen in fashion today.
Judith Krantz passed away on June 22, 2019, at the age of 91. Her legacy as a writer and cultural icon lives on through her novels and the impact she had on popular culture.
Top Judith Krantz Novels
If you’re new to Krantz’s work, or just looking for some recommendations for your next read, here are the top five Judith Krantz novels:
Scruples follow the story of Billy Ikehorn, a young woman with a passion for fashion who opens a Beverly Hills boutique and quickly rises to fashion fame. Her keen eye for style and business acumen lead her to the top of the fashion industry, but not without a few bumps along the way. Billy’s steamy relationships and political intrigues keep the pages turning in this page-turner. Krantz’s vivid descriptions of the fashion world and Beverly Hills lifestyle make this novel a must-read for any fashionista.
For those who love a good romance, Scruples does not disappoint. Billy’s love interests include a handsome movie star, a dashing Frenchman, and a charming photographer. The chemistry between Billy and her suitors is electric, and readers will be rooting for her to find true love.
Princess Daisy (1980)
Princess Daisy tells the story of Daisy, a young woman who, after a traumatic childhood, rises to become a supermodel and later a successful businesswoman. The novel spans several continents and cultures, exploring themes of love, family, and identity. Krantz’s attention to detail and vivid descriptions make this novel a feast for the senses.
One of the most compelling aspects of Princess Daisy is the exploration of Daisy’s family history. Daisy’s mother is a Russian princess who falls in love with an American businessman, and their love story is both beautiful and tragic. Daisy’s journey to uncover the secrets of her family’s past is a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Mistral’s Daughter (1982)
Mistral’s Daughter is the story of Maggy Lunel, a young woman from a small French village who dreams of becoming a famous artist. Her journey takes her from the French art scene to the glamour and excess of Hollywood. The novel is a sweeping epic, full of passion and intrigue, and Krantz’s descriptions of the French countryside and art world are particularly enchanting.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Mistral’s Daughter is the exploration of the art world. Krantz’s detailed descriptions of the creative process and the inner workings of the art world are both informative and captivating. Maggy’s relationships with the men in her life, including the enigmatic artist Julien Mistral, add an extra layer of drama to this already thrilling novel.
I’ll Take Manhattan (1986)
I’ll Take Manhattan follows the rivalry between two publishing empires, represented by the ambitious Maxi Amberville and her ruthless rival, Zachary Amberville. The novel is a thrilling ride, full of power plays and romantic entanglements. Krantz’s descriptions of the Manhattan skyline and the fashion industry showcase her talent for creating rich, detailed settings.
One of the most interesting aspects of I’ll Take Manhattan is the exploration of the publishing industry. Krantz’s insider knowledge of the industry shines through in her descriptions of the inner workings of the publishing world. Maxi’s rise to the top of the industry is both inspiring and heart-wrenching, and readers will be rooting for her to come out on top.
Till We Meet Again (1988)
Till We Meet Again tells the story of three generations of women in a wealthy Parisian family, from the Belle Epoque to World War II. It is a sweeping historical novel full of love, loss, and secrets. Krantz’s meticulous research and attention to historical detail make this novel a must-read for fans of historical fiction.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Till We Meet Again is the exploration of the Belle Epoque and World War II eras. Krantz’s descriptions of the fashion, art, and culture of these time periods are both informative and captivating. The relationships between the three generations of women in the family are also compelling, and readers will be invested in their stories from beginning to end.
Exploring the Themes in Judith Krantz’s Books
Judith Krantz was a master of the romantic novel genre, and her books are known for their larger-than-life characters and glamorous settings. However, her novels also explore important themes that resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. From romance and passion to power and ambition, family and relationships to fashion and glamour, Krantz’s novels offer a rich tapestry of human experiences and emotions.
Romance and Passion
At the heart of Krantz’s novels is a deep and abiding love for romance and passion. Her books are famous for their steamy love scenes and passionate relationships, but Krantz’s female characters are not simply passive objects of desire. Instead, they are active participants in their romantic lives, pursuing their desires and passions without shame or judgement. Krantz believed that women should be able to explore their sexuality and pursue their dreams, no matter what society may say.
For example, in her novel “Scruples,” the protagonist, Billy Ikehorn, is a young woman who dreams of opening her own fashion boutique. Along the way, she falls in love with a wealthy playboy named Vito Orsini, but she refuses to let him control her or her dreams. Instead, she fights for her independence and her right to pursue her passions, no matter what obstacles may stand in her way.
Power and Ambition
Krantz’s novels often feature ambitious characters who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. However, Krantz also explores the dark side of ambition, highlighting the negative consequences that can arise from the pursuit of power and success. Her characters often struggle with the moral and ethical implications of their actions, and they must confront the consequences of their choices.
For example, in her novel “Dazzle,” the protagonist, Jazz Kilkullen, is a talented fashion designer who is determined to make it to the top of her profession. Along the way, she must navigate the cutthroat world of high fashion, dealing with jealous rivals and unscrupulous business partners. However, as she climbs the ladder of success, she begins to realize that the price of her ambition may be too high, and she must decide whether to continue on her current path or to make a change.
Family and Relationships
Krantz’s novels often revolve around strong family relationships and the bonds that tie people together. Whether it’s a mother and daughter, sisters, or friends, Krantz’s characters draw strength from their relationships with others. However, Krantz also explores the complexities and difficulties that can arise in family relationships, including jealousy and betrayal.
For example, in her novel “Mistral’s Daughter,” the protagonist, Maggy Lunel, is a talented artist who comes from a dysfunctional family. Her mother is an alcoholic, and her father is absent from her life. However, Maggy finds solace and support in her relationships with her friends and lovers, including the enigmatic artist Julien Mistral. However, as she becomes more successful and famous, she must confront the jealousy and envy of those around her, including those closest to her.
Fashion and Glamour
One of Krantz’s enduring legacies is her impact on the fashion world. Krantz wrote about fashion and glamour with an insider’s perspective, having worked as a fashion editor for many years. Her novels are full of sumptuous descriptions of clothes, jewelry, and other luxury items, making them a feast for the senses.
For example, in her novel “Lovers,” the protagonist, Gigi Orsini, is a beautiful and talented fashion model who is swept up in a whirlwind of luxury and glamour. She travels the world, wearing the latest fashions and attending glamorous parties and events. However, as she becomes more famous and successful, she begins to realize that the world of fashion is not as glamorous as it seems, and she must confront the dark side of the industry.
Overall, Judith Krantz’s novels offer a rich and complex exploration of human emotions and experiences. Her books are a celebration of love, passion, and ambition, but they also explore the darker side of human nature. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to Krantz’s work, her novels are sure to captivate and inspire you.
Who is Judith Krantz?
Judith Krantz was an American writer who switched from her career in fashion and magazine writing to fiction as she reached her 50s. Krantz was born in New York in 1928 and died in Los Angeles in 2019.
What has Judith Krantz written?
Krantz specialized in romance novels, often using her knowledge of fashion and design to influence her characterizations. She is known for creating works such as Princess Daisy, I’ll Take Manhattan, Scruples, and Till We Meet Again.
What is the bestselling Judith Krantz book?
Princess Daisy is Krantz’s best-selling work.