Review: Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum


Release date: June 25, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction


Rouge is a sexy, glamorous journey into the rivalry of the pioneers of powder, mascara and rouge.

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. The cast of characters is rounded out by Mickey Heron, a dashing, sexy ladies’ man whose cosmetics business is founded in a Hollywood brothel. All are bound in a struggle to be number one, doing anythingto get there…including murder.


This follows three pioneers in the beauty industry from the 1920’s all the way to the 1990’s and we get not one, but three strong, determined, and resourceful main characters to root for. Actually, I didn’t love all three, however I could admire and respect them all for their innovation and ability to break down barriers for women in the workplace, it was pretty inspiring especially as all three overcame some serious obstacles before reaching their ultimate goals and this was mainly set in the twenties and thirties when women being successful businesswoman was just not the norm.

Often I find historical fiction to move at a pretty slow pace but this one flew by, the pacing was incredibly fast, there was always something new and exciting happening in the characters lives, truly never a dull moment. The behind the scenes look at the beauty industry was fascinating, these woman were sharp and hungry and the cattiness between them was unreal. Highly entertaining as well, the lengths they would go to in order to maintain their success was crazy, think manipulation and crafty plotting and scheming. Throw in some glitz and high glamour and you have one hell of a dazzling read.

Recommended as a great addition to your summer reading list, it’s juicy and delicious with plenty of depth and intrigue to keep you turning the pages fast as you can!

Rouge in three words: Sophisticated, Dramatic and Devious.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and FSB Associates for my review copy.

One thought on “Review: Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s