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THE GARMENT CENTER SERIES
Short Synopsis - 4 Novels



Fifteen is a drama set in 1967, Bronx, NY. Maria's life as a 34-year old in a marriage to stubborn Luigi (fifteen years her senior) has become stale. She is frustrated with her chaotic family life, two wild young boys, a difficult 15-year old daughter, and an overcritical live-in mother-in-law. Maria escapes from it all by fantasizing of a passionate romance.

The story is told through two points of view. The second view point is of Angelina, Maria's daughter, a typical teenager of the 60's—into rebellion and free-love. She feels misunderstood in this Italian-American family and yearns to break free and experiment with life.

Both women's lives change when Pasquale, a 30-year old repairman comes onto the scene. He mistakes Maria and Angelina for sisters and falls for Maria, but Angelina secretly has a crush on him. Angelina has other issues to deal with concerning her friends and current boyfriend-of-the-week who date-rapes the devastated virgin. Meanwhile, Maria who is unaware of the details of her daughter's situation, is seduced by the romantic Pasquale (an image of her fantasy lover), and even with her strict Catholic upbringing, they have a brief fling.

When Angelina realizes she is pregnant (from the rape), and the long lost boyfriend is far from father material, she zeros in on Pasquale who everyone in her family adores. The teen makes a plan to seduce him and make him think he's the father of her unborn child, but Pasquale doesn't fall for her so easily, even when she runs away from home to be with him.

As the story unfolds, we see a glimpse into the lives of some lively characters that play important roles in the lives of Maria and Angelina. Nonna (Grandma) is a lively old widow who gambles in Italian men's clubs where women are strictly forbidden, and Maria's friend, Tia who owns a psychedelic fashion boutique where Maria works, plays a big role in helping both women make important decisions in their lives. And, of course, Maria's husband, Luigi has his own lessons to learn in the story, as does, Pasquale the character who stirs things up for the whole family. In the end, quirky Nonna surprisingly shows all of them the key to happiness. It has been said that this story has a flavor of A Walk on the Moon in A Bronx Tale setting.

Angelina (Lina) continues as one of the main characters in the following story:



Dance to Fashion
is a character drama where 22-year-old Zoe Hill struggles to break away from her abusive, drug-dealing husband in Madison, Wisconsin.

Zoe, always one step ahead of fashion trends, follows her dream for excitement and success by moving to New York City to work in a vintage clothing boutique. She's determined to create a more fulfilling life for her and her young daughter.

Through her journey, Zoe encounters fascinating, artsy new friends, including Angelina (from Fifteen), but faces numerous obstacles in order to survive during the artsy rock-and-roll scene of downtown NYC and the beginning of the disco era—early 1970's.

Zoe turns to go-go dancing when life in New York City presents challenges that she is not prepared to handle. Life as a go-go dancer presents a whole new dimension of obstacles including working at mafia operated go-go clubs across the Hudson in New Jersey and being the victim of a traumatic rape.

But, with the help of Angelina and her family, Zoe is determined to be successful by finishing college and making something of her life. In the end, she not only earns a dream position in a glamorous fashion company, but, she also finds true love. Zoe, Angelina and other characters from the first two stories continue as characters in:



Perilous Ambition is a romantic drama set in 1980 about Tamara Baxter, an emotionally tortured young woman who escapes her unchaste past by moving to NYC from a rural religious commune where she grew up.

The 26-year-old ambitiously seeks success by posing as the niece of her estranged wealthy uncle and lands a job in his fashion company. She meets a handsome, but possessive co-worker and soon moves in with him. As Tamara is promoted to a prestigious position as the company's fashion model, and her boyfriend is stuck in a stale blue-collar job, he becomes bitter and abusive.

Her life changes when she falls for a wealthy family friend who offers her the impressive lifestyle of her dreams. Stuck in a love triangle, life becomes more complicated when her jealous co-worker/boyfriend finds out that Tamara is not who she claims to be. She has, in fact, STOLEN THE IDENTITY of the real Tamara, a girl from the religious commune.

Tension mounts as the girl posing as Tamara is forced by her boyfriend to choose between marrying him and leaving her lover or having her secret exposed to the family. Angelina (originally from Fifteen) is now married and her story, and characters from Dance to Fashion and Perilous Ambition, continues in:

 


The Melisa Ordeal is set in New York City's garment district at the end of the 1990's. It is a story of two totally dissimilar women—Angelina, who is now a successful fashion designer living an ideal life with her husband and daughter, and Melisa, a distraught fashion assistant leading a perplexed life, emotionally dependent on her abusive Iranian boyfriend. The women work at Melody Dress Designs with Joey, Angelina's husband whom Melisa, with the help of her jealous boyfriend, Nari manages to scam, by arranging his arrest for sexual harassment. Melisa and Nari have a goal—to sue Joey and the company for an exorbitant amount of money.

The novel explores what a guilty verdict in a sexual harassment charge can do to the wife and family of the defendant. It also touches on participation, in this case Melisa's boyfriend, Nari, in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

The story is told from two points of view—one of Angelina's POV, and the other POV of Melisa. It is a tale of contrasting values dealing with abuse, deception and intrigue. The characters deal with difficulties in their lives either with loyalty and devotion or with greed and desperation as they learn that there's a lot taken for granted in life.

Angelina's family in Fifteen comes through for her in the end.

 

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