A page-turning tale of marriage, scandal, and fame, perfect for readers of Taylor Jenkins Reid: “The glitz and underlying darkness of Hollywood make for a setting as complex and compelling as Ramisetti's characters . . . rings with insight—and with heart” (Meena Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author).
A Cosmopolitan Best Book of 2023 · Readheads Book Club pick
At age 26, Advika Srinivasan considers herself a failed screenwriter. To pay the bills and keep her mind off of the recent death of her twin sister, she’s taken to bartending A-list events, including the 2015 Governors Ball, the official afterparty of the Oscars. There, in a cinematic dream come true, she meets the legendary Julian Zelding—a film producer as handsome as Paul Newman and ten times as powerful—fresh off his fifth best picture win. Despite their 41-year age difference, Advika falls helplessly under his spell, and their evening flirtation ignites into a whirlwind courtship and elopement. Advika is enthralled by Julian’s charm and luxurious lifestyle, but while Julian loves to talk about his famous friends and achievements, he smoothly changes the subject whenever his previous relationships come up. Then, a month into their marriage, Julian’s first wife—the famous actress Evie Lockhart—dies, and a tabloid reports a shocking stipulation in her will. A single film reel and $1,000,000 will be bequeathed to “Julian’s latest child bride” on one condition: Advika must divorce him first.
Shaken out of her love fog and still-simmering grief over the loss of her sister—and uneasy about Julian’s sudden, inexplicable urge to start a family—Advika decides to investigate him through the eyes and experiences of his exes. From reading his first wife’s biography, to listening to his second wife’s confessional albums, to watching his third wife’s Real Housewives-esque reality show, Advika starts to realize how little she knows about her husband. Realizing she rushed into the marriage for all the wrong reasons, Advika uses the info gleaned from the lives of her husband’s exes to concoct a plan to extricate herself from Julian once and for all.
About the Author
Kirthana Ramisetti earned her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has had her work published in the New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly,The Atlantic and more. Her debut novel, Dava Shastri’s Last Day, was publishedin 2021. She lives with her husband in New York City.
"Kirthana Ramisetti is a gifted storyteller, and Advika and the Hollywood Wives is such a gift. The glitz and underlying darkness of Hollywood make for a setting as complex and compelling as Ramisetti's characters, and every page of this smart, sharply-observed novel rings with insight—and with heart."—Meena Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"I could not put this book down. Advika is the kind of heroine we've all been waiting for: readers will laugh with her and cheer her on as she opens our eyes to the truths of grief and sisterhood, of friendship and love, of ambition and fame. Kirthana Ramisetti has a rare gift for penning page-turners full of wisdom, nuance, and depth, and I know I am not alone in saying that I will read any book she writes."—Qian Julie Wang, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Country
"Pure delight! With Advika, Kirthana Ramisetti has gifted us the boldest of heroines—one who will fight to discover her own worth, and learn to love what she finds.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
"A Cinderella tale with a dark twist. Beneath the glamorous exterior of this page-turner is a thoughtful story about female empowerment and what happens when promises of happily ever after don't quite meet fairy tale expectations."—Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author
"Kirthana Ramisetti is quickly becoming the go-to author for nuanced stories about fame, family, and love. Advika and the Hollywood Wives is an insightful and moving portrayal of a woman fighting for what she
deserves. Told with equal parts humor and heart, this delightful novel is sure to be a favorite for book clubs!"—Saumya Dave, Author of What a Happy Family
"Advika and the Hollywood Wives is my favorite kind of novel: smart yet unassuming, entertaining, and deeply compassionate. With sharp characters and complex insight on fame, ambition, love, and loss, Kirthana Ramisetti has given us a page-turner for movie buffs and book worms alike." —Liv Stratman, Author of Cheat Day
"Advika and the Hollywood Wives is my favorite kind of page-turner: packed with juice, humor, intrigue, and a complex heroine on a quest to discover what’s real beyond the mirage of all that glitters. Kirthana Ramisetti’s knowledge of celebrity culture shines through in every scene, and I couldn’t help but binge!"—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal and Nev
"Kirthana Ramisetti has a knack for the intriguing, propulsive kind of writing that had us sneaking our mother’s paperbacks as teens. Like Dava Shastri, Advika is a good old-fashioned page-turner, centered around a character we’ve never seen in fiction, but sorely needed to meet."—Priyanka Mattoo, Writer and filmmaker
"This delicious book is for all of us who love romantic comedies—and yet also mistrust the ways Hollywood romantic tropes can stifle our individuality and creativity in real life. Ramisetti’s zippy, nuanced take on the Bluebeard tale is especially insightful about who gets to be a professional storyteller, and about the pressure to squeeze our lives and stories into the boxes prescribed by popular culture.” —Kate Reed Petty, author of True Story
“This book is deliciously suspenseful. I raced through the pages and found not just a delightful intrigue but also a thoughtful exploration of manipulation, power, and the legacy of sisterhood.”—Marie Rutkoski, author of Real Easy
"Suspenseful and cinematic, Advika and the Hollywood Wives will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page through the nail-biting grand finale. Kirthana Ramisetti is a novelist in the tradition of Jane Austen, masterfully blending complex human psychology and sharp comedy to bring her finely drawn characters to vivid life. This book is both a cautionary tale about power imbalance in a relationship (trust your instincts, ladies!) and a valentine to friends who are like family."—Erin Carlson, Author of I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy
“A page-turner packed with mystery, drama, and romance.”—Associated Press
"Nails the Hollywood milieu and offers an incisive portrait of Julian, a powerful man who feels compelled to control the women in his life. This is a winner."—Publishers Weekly
"Looks at Hollywood from a unique and unflinching lens, but also allows for themes of grief, friendship, and love to bloom in unexpecting ways."—Cosmopolitan
"Part love story, part thriller, this novel will appeal to fans of Hollywood and May-December romance."—Kirkus
"A vivid, engrossing drama . . . Ramisetti juxtaposes the glitz and glamour of Hollywood against its underbelly of power imbalances, racism, and the consumption of young hopefuls, especially women. Deep, thoughtful characterization of Advika and the former wives brings extra heft to a complex story of wish fulfillment gone wrong."—Shelf Awareness
"Ramisetti excels at holding back just enough to keep you furiously turning the pages looking for answers in this mystery-meets-romance."—Buzzfeed
“A compelling portrait of a young woman fighting erasure, learning to accept help from her friends, and coming into her own.”—Booklist
"A disturbing twist on the classic Cinderella tale . . . Juicy, propulsive and insightful."—Parade magazine
"A rich portrait of a family facing their powerful matriarch's death, Dava Shastri's Last Day is full of music, magnetism, and familial obligation. If Succession were about a multicultural family who actually loved each other, it might look like this."—Emma Straub, Author of All Adults Here, Praise for Dava Shastri's Last Day
"Ramisetti beautifully weaves keen analysis of celebrity culture and a deep love of music into this perceptive, intergenerational story of resentment, trauma, love, and redemption. A page-turner with humor, heart, and lots of pop music."—Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia, Praise for Dava Shastri's Last Day
"Kirthana Ramisetti has written a sweeping saga and also a poignant story about sacrifice and the exacting price of secrecy. Cinematic and intimate, Dava Shastri’s Last Day is an intricate story about family and love."—Devi S. Laskar, Author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, Praise for Dava Shastri's Last Day
"Dava Shastri's Last Day is a story about ambition and greatness, wealth and family, full of secrets, love, and music, and those eternal pop song complements: heartbreak and hope. It's a gripping, deeply satisfying story about one woman's tremendous life—and the infinitely complicated ways we create our own legacies."—Kate Racculia, Author of Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts and Bellweather Rhapsody, Praise for Dava Shastri's Last Day
"Ramisetti draws nuanced characters who are introspective and entertaining."—Kirkus, Praise for Dava Shastri's Last Day