One Flight Up

A Novel

One Flight Up

What happens after happily-ever-after fades? Can the answer be found one flight up?


India, Abby, Esme, and Monique have all been friends since their days at Manhattan’s Sibley School for Girls. From the outside, these four women—all grown up now—seem to be living ideal lives, yet each finds herself suddenly craving more.


India Chumley is a whip-smart divorce lawyer who routinely declines the marriage proposals of her charming French boyfriend, Julien. She’s taking the first plunge by moving in with him, but she’s keeping her own apartment—and keeping it a secret from him.


Abby Rosenfeld Adams is an irrepressibly upbeat gallery owner who married her WASP college sweet heart, a passionate but tormented sculptor. When she suspects he is cheating on her, she realizes that perhaps there’s more to life than reassuring her husband of his artistic brilliance.

Esme Sarmiento Talbot is a Colombian Scarlett O’Hara, bored with her proper Connecticut life and her tame, all-American husband. In order to satisfy her sensuality, she escapes to Manhattan and distracts herself with casual encounters.


A card-carrying member of Harlem’s thriving buppie-ocracy and a successful gynecologist, Monique Dawkins-Dubois is married to a powerful but dull financier who barely notices her anymore. When an attractive coworker beckons, Monique can’t help but be flattered.

The most straitlaced of them all, India is dismayed by her friends’ illicit activities. That is, until her ex-fiancé, the love of her life and the destroyer of her heart, reappears in New York— and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.


Dazzling and sexy, One Flight Up is an irresistible comedic romp through the boardrooms, bedrooms, and ballrooms of Manhattan and Paris.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439125007 | 
  • July 2011
List Price $27.50 (price may vary by retailer)


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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for One Flight Up includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Susan Fales-Hill. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



Divorce attorney India Chumley could list the rules of the legal system blindfolded. When it comes to matters of the heart, however, the laws aren’t so cut and dry. India tries to do everything right—she puts her soul into her work, commits to a kind and loving boyfriend, and takes care of her alcoholic mother. But when India’s girlfriends all begin to cross the line into infidelity—Abby falls for her toddler’s music teacher, Monique hooks up with an EMT at the hospital where she works, and Esme is always ready for anything—the rules become a little blurry. So when India’s ex-fiancé—the love of her life and best sex she’s ever had—shows up and wants her back, she’s torn between the love she has now and the love she can’t forget.


Questions for Discussion

1.      Early on in the story, Elizabeth tells India “it’s because [she’s] see more

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About the Author

Susan Fales-Hill
Photograph by Julie Skarratt

Susan Fales-Hill

Susan Fales-Hill is an award-winning television writer and producer (The Cosby Show, Suddenly Susan, and A Different World) and the author of One Flight Up and the acclaimed memoir Always Wear Joy. She is a contributing editor at Essence, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Town & Country, and Good Housekeeping. Susan lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.