Augusta Price is a washed-up TV star who starts the novel kicked out of rehab- yet again- for sneaking pills and booze. She doesn't even know the name of the nurse who has been tending her for the week. Augusta is enjoying a minor return to the headlines because of her recently released memoir, and she hopes to capitalise on its success to re-launch her career. However, the memoir is a sham. Her memories, unreliable due to countless blackouts and benders, are edited and embellished past any resemblance of what she thinks might be the truth. Augusta has no guilt over this, asserting that a story is only important for its entertainment value, and Augusta is nothing if not entertaining.
She has a chance encounter with the other main character, a young writer named Frances. Frances has fled her parents’ affluent lifestyle in California to strike out on her own in London and writes for a magazine. Right after Frances interviews Augusta, the magazine is bought out. Frances loses her job and her fledging hopes of something more with her boss, an unlikely object of anyone’s affections but for some reason, the focus of Frances’s romantic aspirations.