She was born Randy Goldfield in Dumont, New Jersey, but changed her name to Justine Goldfield and later to Justine Rendal. She took up writing following a divorce in which she said her husband got almost everything (including her Jaguar and the country house). A graduate of New York University, she was a partner at the management consultants Booz & Company in New York prior to becoming a writer.
Many of her books can be described as revenge fantasies; a constant theme is the mistreatment of women by the men they love, but with the women coming out the winners in the end.
Controversially, in late 1996 Goldsmith said, in response to an Entertainment Weekly reporter's question, that her favorite event of 1996 was when Bob Dole fell off a stage during a campaign function.
She also wrote several books for children, which were published under the name "Justine Rendal."
Goldsmith died as a result of complications from cosmetic surgery. Her final two books were published posthumously.
The song "Edith Wharton's Figurines" from Suzanne Vega's 2007 studio album Beauty %26 Crime is dedicated to Olivia Goldsmith.
The First Wives Club (1992), made into the movie The First Wives Club starring Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn in 1996. The story deals with three friends who have been left by their husbands for younger women. After a friend (also a "first wife") kills herself due to her ex-husband's abuse, they decided to exact revenge on all four ex-husbands.
Fashionably Late (1993) in which a young designer tries to handle her fashion house while dealing with her troubled marriage, adopting a child, and finding her birth mother.
Flavor of the Month (1994), a satire of Hollywood following three stars of a hit TV show. One is a talented but plain actress gets plastic surgery to look younger and beautiful; the second is a dirt-poor Southern girl fleeing an abusive father; the third is the spoiled child of actors.
Marrying Mom (1996), in which three thirty-something New Yorkers try to get a husband for their widowed mother so she'll stop interfering in their lives.
The Bestseller (1996), tracking five people with novels as they adjust to the publishing game and try to see their books succeed.
Switcheroo (1998), where a wife discovers that her husband is having an affair. When she meets the mistress, they're stunned to realize that, but for a twenty-year age gap, they look exactly alike. With makeup and surgery, they switch places to try and teach him a lesson.
Young Wives (2000), a sort of flip side of "First Wives Club" where three twenty-something women discover their husbands are up to no good, from affairs to drug dealing and band together to get payback.
Bad Boy (2001) in which a trendy Seattle reporter does an 'extreme-makeover' job on her best friend - a nerdy male computer programmer - to transform him 'from zero to hero.'
Pen Pals (2002) in which an ambitious Wall Street financier agrees to take the rap for her boss in an insider dealing case. She finds herself abandoned by both her boss and her fiance, and ends up serving prison time. She then helps save the prison from a corporation trying to buy it out.
Insiders (2002)- Smart and sassy wall street tycoon, Jennifer, agrees to take the rap for her boss' shady dealings. But after her fiancÚ lawyer fails to get her off the hook, Jennifer ends up in a harsh women's prison where her designer clothes and education count for nothing. On the inside, Jennifer discovers that working together, with unlikely partners in crime, is the only way out.
Dumping Billy (2004), in which a woman notices that every time a woman is dumped by "Billy" she gets married to the next guy she meets. She thus attempts to set up a friend with him, hoping she'll be next after the breakup.
Wish Upon A Star (2004) in which a low-level secretary is invited to go to London with one of her firm's top partners, only to be cheated upon by him there, forcing herself to carve a new life for herself in a strange city.