Gucci. Prada. Jimmy Choo. All the right labels adorn the denizens of Silver Lake in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the bulk of their wealth from new money (as opposed to the more respectable "old" kind).
Two of these ladies, Barbara Bentley and Jolene Brown, live the dream, shopping with impunity at the best stores and flaunting luxurious homes in the enviable north Silver Lake district, the wealthiest black enclave in the United States. After a scandalous affair with Barbara's husband the previous summer, Jolene is trying to regain her composure, unwilling to let a little social humiliation get her down.
Pearl Jackson is the new love interest of Patrick Brown, although Jolene cannot fathom her ex's attachment to this chunky working woman. Also divorced, Pearl resides in a less tony townhouse in Silver Lake and owns her own beauty salon, with an A-list of clients including Barbara Bentley. Without the financial resources of Barbara and Jolene, Pearl has no conflict with her priorities, Patrick is at the top of the list after twenty years of living single and raising a son - except now Jolene wants her man back.
A new mansion is under construction in Silver Lake, and the close-knit community is buzzing with curiosity and rife with rumor as hand-delivered invitations are passed out, a huge Welcome Gala planned at the newcomer’s estate. Soon enough there is a virulent outbreak of status-envy, as all and sundry vie for position of best friend to the newly arrived occupant.
This is upscale Maryland society at its pretentious best, and the author knows how to capture a moment and a man, her feisty protagonists fighting for dominance. From expensive hair weaves to designer duds to clandestine affairs, Briscoe whips up a froth of feminine follies, not the least of which involves a handsome hunk with dreads who has to beat the ladies off with a stick, his eyes for one woman only - and she is already married. There’s a lesson for all, but especially Barbara Bentley, who finds out the hard way that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t."
Can't Get Enough is Sex and the City sistah style, with enough panache to carry off the whole crazy romp. If there is such a thing as literate chick-lit, Connie Briscoe has cornered the market. It may not be brain surgery, but the difference is obvious. This writer doesn't just name-drop designers du jour and toss around indiscriminate sex scenes; she is a skillful writer with a sense of timing, interesting characterization and believable plot development. Desperate Housewives, eat your hearts out.