This fast-paced novel examines the lives, loves, and sacrifices of the visionaries who invented the modern cosmetics industry: Josiah Herzenstein, born in a Polish Jewish Shtlel, the entrepreneur who transforms herself into a global style icon and the richest woman in the world, Josephine Herz; Constance Gardiner, her rival, the ultimate society woman who invents the door-to-door business and its female workforce but whose deepest secret threatens everything; CeeCee Lopez, the bi-racial beauty and founder of the first African American woman’s hair relaxer business, who overcomes prejudice and heartbreak to become her community’s first female millionaire. 

My Review

I picked up this book but with a timid reservation. No clue as to why as I had not heard of this book. So, you can imagine my great surprise and happiness when I enjoyed myself reading this book. Mr. Kirshenbaum spun a spell over me as I absolutely fell head over heels in love with this book! It got better and better like a fine wine the further I got into the story.

My favorite though is Josephine. I connected with her the best. Yet, Constance, CeeCee, and Mickey were all wonderful as well. They each had their own story to share. What stories they did have to share. Each one did struggle but they came back stronger and more laser focused to conquer the beauty industry. The biggest rivals were Josephine and Constance. Their two businesses were competing with one another. Each lady was trying to one up the other one.

CeeCee and Mickey were both the wild horses with hearts of gold. Especially, when it came to Mickey. He really surprised me. I thought he would really play up the playboy image but underneath that exterior was a good man. This book is going to be made into a movie. I can see why it was chosen. It was like a movie playing in my head as I was reading this book. Rouge is a five star recommended read.

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RICHARD KIRSHENBAUM is CEO of NSG/SWAT, a high-profile boutique branding agency. He has lectured at Harvard Business School, appeared on 20/20, was named to Crain’s New York Business’s “40 under 40” list, and has been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. He is the author of Under the Radar, Closing the Deal, Madboy, and Isn’t That Rich? and the New York Observer's "Isn't That Rich?" column. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.


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