Cake or Pie? With Plum Sykes


Born in London, and educated at Oxford, Vogue contributing editor Plum Sykes arrived in New York City in 1997 and became an instant It-girl. Her unforgettable debut, “Bergdorf Blondes”, detailed the lives of Park Avenue princesses.

In her fourth book, “Wives Like Us”, the author affectionately satirizes the wealthy residents of the English countryside she now calls home, specifically the ultra-fashionable Cotswolds, playfully calling them the “country princesses.”

Peeking over the hedges to bring us “Wives Like Us”, Plum’s inimitable voice and a keen eye for next-level glamour and luxury leap from the pages like an equestrienne at a Show Jumping tournament.

The result is a highly entertaining comedy of manners featuring a cast of country princesses and Ian, the Executive Butler, who knows and manages all. I was thrilled to interview Plum and fun fact, her twin sister Lucy was the first person to blurb my debut novel. (Thank you Lucy!)


Jane Rosen (J.R.):     If you could pick anyone, dead or alive, to blurb one of your books, who would it be?

Plum Sykes (P.S.): P.G. Wodehouse, because he was the wittiest man alive and created a world you wanted to fall into and never leave.

J.R.: It has been 20 years since the publication of your best-selling novel, “Bergdorf Blondes”. What aspect of the New York socialites’ world do you think has changed the most since then?

P.S.: I think the New York socialite has evolved. The new socialites are the fashion and society influencers on social media. And instead of, you can see exactly where people are in the pecking order instantly via their number of followers.

Plum Sykes in her Happy Place.

J.R.:   Your birth name is Victoria. Does anyone still call you that?

P.S.: No one calls me Victoria except the immigration guy at passport control.

J.R.: You were famously dubbed an It-girl in ‘90’s Manhattan. What do you miss most about that era?

P.S.: The black town cars and the Manolos…

J.R.: I have already began planning a trip to the Cotswolds (the English countryside setting of “Wives Like Us.”) What four items must I include in my luggage?

P.S.: Le Chameau Wellington Boots (it rains a lot), a summer dress by Ulla Johnson, a tartan rug for picnics, and a spare battery for your phone in case you get lost walking the Cotswold Way.

J.R.:  Social Climbing: Good or bad?

P.S.: Very unchic.

J.R.:   Best high tea in London?

P.S.: The tea at The Berkeley or Claridge’s are both divine.

J.R.:  If you were trapped on a desert island and could bring one person, one book, and one silly thing you can’t live without what would they be?

P.S.: I’d bring “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton, my two daughters as I can’t choose one, and a bottle of Olverum bath oil which I seriously can’t live without.

  J.R.: It’s no surprise that your latest novel is brimming with British vernacular. Are there any particular favorites that daft Americans like us need explanations for?

P.S.: Blotto. I love that word and it means drunk.

J.R.:   Where is your happy place?

P.S.: On my farm in Gloucestershire.

J.R.: What’s your guilty pleasure?

P.S.: Owning a horse. But I adore him!

J.R.:  What is your greatest extravagance?

P.S.: Ruinart champagne, very occasionally.

J.R.:   Favorite Podcast?

P.S.: When It Hits the Fan (BBC Radio), which is about the publicity business. It’s brilliant!

J.R.: What would you title your memoir?

P.S.: She Did It Her Way

J.R.:  Kindle or paper?

P.S.: Paper. I hate screens in general, and I love a book.

J.R.:  Cake or Pie?

P.S.: Without a shadow of a doubt cake. They are just so beautiful and there is nothing like a good old British Victoria Sponge cake, with jam and cream inside.

Jane L. Rosen is the author of Seven Summer Weekends., On Fire Island, A Shoe StoryEliza Starts a Rumor, and Nine Women, One Dress. She is also a screenwriter and contributor to publications including The New Times, Tablet, and now, her hometown paper, the Fire Island News. She and her husband have three grown daughters and a rescue pup named Rosalita. 

Graphics by Hanna Goldstien