Author unveils first novel

HOLLY PETERSON’S debut novel, “The Manny,” about Manhattan’s super rich and the hiring of a male nanny, has been lauded as not just another chick lit effort and given the space and hype most authors never see. Tonight, Holly’s philanthropic dad, Pete Peterson of Blackstone, will lay on a party for his only daughter in the Four Seasons. I think he took over the Grill Room, the Pool Room and perhaps all the offices in the Seagram Building. Pete’s party for Holly will be the rat-crush to end all. I thought originally that “The Manny” would be a satirical send-up of New York’s rich and their behavior, a sardonic look at the way things are in the upper East Side stratosphere. But it turns out to offer a kind of moral, ethical dilemma — a heartfelt unhappy marriage love affair. Read it for yourself; you won’t be able to escape it anyway in coming months. I like two of Holly’s quotes. “Rich people don’t get richer because of tax windfalls, they get richer because they don’t feel rich in the first place.” And “You don’t know the meaning of ass-kissing until you’ve seen a real live socialite around a society photographer.” Dial Press has Holly signed up for a second go.

MR. AND MRS. Tony Bennett (Susan Crow) are confirming our recent prediction that they’d marry this week in a private ceremony. They plan to honeymoon in Italy and stop at Zubin Mehta’s fabulous villa in Tuscany. Honeymooning will be a cinch; they’ve been together for 20 years. On Sept. 9 at Radio City Music Hall Tony will sing and guest stars include James Taylor and k. d. lang. This event benefits Tony and Susan’s co-founded organization, Exploring the Arts. Tony and Susan’s jewel is the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a public high school in its sixth successful year. Kevin Spacey is to be keynote speaker at the graduation ceremonies Tuesday. The U.N. made Tony their 2007 Humanitarian honoree. … The Rob Marshall directed “Tony Bennett An American Classic” documentary is pushing for an Emmy nomination and Clint Eastwood is still putting final touches on another film about Tony, “The Music Never Ends.” ” With all this going on, you see Tony and Susan around town, no bodyguards, no entourage — just down to earth New Yorkers, the friendliest of the famous you’ll ever meet. We wish them the best.

NOTED AMONG the V.I.P.s at columnist Claudia Cohen’s funeral – Judith Giuliani, looking very smart, and Rudy himself, wearing a yarmulke, rushing down the aisle to join her. The Giulianis departed the synagogue before the personal speeches began. These are demanding days for politicians and their wives – and husbands.

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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