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The Finishing Touches Paperback – Bargain Price, March 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416540083
  • ASIN: B0057DAN7U
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A delicious, entertaining book!" -- Sophie Kinsella

About the Author

Hester Browne is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Little Lady Agency in the Big Apple, The Finishing Touches, and Swept Off Her Feet. She lives in London and Herefordshire with her two Basset hounds Violet and Bonham.

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Customer Reviews

I really loved the character of Betsy.
skrishna
The author, Hester Browne, was able to evenly balance the story with humor, human emotions and many character types without getting bogged down.
Gail Rodgers
As a Brit Chick Lit fan, her books are to die for!
J. Conlon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By cmp VINE VOICE on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really wanted to love this book. I love Brit chick lit - set a story in London and you've got my interest immediately. And there is nothing horrible about this book, but there's just not very much going on at all.

Betsy is sweet. Bone-deep sweet. It's easy to like her, but there's just not much more there. She's not terribly funny, she's not tragic, she's not even really struggling financially or anything interesting. There are hints that her personality changed some at 18, but it sounds like she went from being much more fun to pretty boring, and since the book is set in the "now", well...

In fact, NONE of the characters have an edge of any sort. The best friend is a little flaky, but not ridiculous. The 18 year old girls at the finishing school might act edgy, but are really sweet underneath. There is no villain - or, if there are supposed to be, in the current headmistress or a former pupil/femme fatale - they are so mild as to not cause any real worries.

Betsy's search for her birth parents is lukewarm at best. I think she's right about her "new classes" (I'm trying not to give anything away that's not in the blurb on amazon.com here) but even that doesn't lead to a ton of conflict.

There's a bit of a romance, but it's nothing torrid, depressing, or funny.

The dialogue is well-written, the settings are well-drawn, the characters are easy to picture, the writer's grasp of grammar and good writing style are there - which is worth the 3 stars to me - but there's just not enough plot or emotion going on. I don't normally love what I'd call "book club books" full of depression, or at the least self-conflict, but I would have still preferred that to this. I don't know even how I'd describe this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth G. Melillo VINE VOICE on June 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Not, mind you, that I ever was able to do more in Harrod's than visit the expensive toilet - but, since the abandoned baby of the first page is left in a Harrod's marmalade box, I thought it an appropriate reference. :) The wit and cleverness of this delightful book made it a treat I gobbled down quickly, with laughter, wistfulness at times, and occasionally deep compassion.

Hester Browne's gift for expression is superb. The descriptions are subtle but exceedingly humorous. There also is an underlying fact, which would have affected the upper classes even more than most, that London has changed immensely in the past twenty years, and that, even at the time of the 'marmalade box baby,' the customs described were preserved by few. Images of women in 1980 learning Victorian customs about how to accept and decline marriage proposals and dine with royalty are a hilarious contrast to their counterparts just two decades later.

Incidentally, some of the advice from the finishing school is not a bad idea at any age.

The book is a cut above what normally falls into the 'chick lit' category. It has an underlying, subtle wisdom that rises it above the usual fare. Few authors in that genre have Hester's ability with the language - and of capturing much of human nature, warmth, weakness, and hope in the process.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BostonJen VINE VOICE on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this story; it captured me right from the beginning, but that may be just because I really wish I had been dropped off at a finishing school as a baby. I love the ladylike advice strewn through the story. This is my first Hester Brown book, but it will not be my last. She has a nice flowing tone to her writing. Great for relaxing on the couch!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol J. Schweitzer on October 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I really tried to like this book because I liked the whole premise of it. However, I really had to just put it down; it was irritating me. When it takes a page and half to get from the car to the front door, that's just too much angst. And, it all seems to be like that. Sorry, I really wanted to like it; maybe I'm too old for her market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on July 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I dearly love to read fiction set in England. It's at times almost a different language. The characters too can be quite a bit wonderfully eccentric. Browne's characters are wonderful and well detailed, from the beautiful but ditzy Liv who doesn't know how to iron, use a mop, or pay the mortgage to the vastly different men in her life, the party planner gorgeous flirt Jamie or the more City-type bursar Mark with the dry sense of humor. The students are also unique as are the teachers of the finishing school. The idea of the finishing school and how our heroine turns it around was the utterly fluff part for me. Too shallow and nonsensical at times - getting out an old pram to teach the students how to walk in high heels, etc. Too frivolous, but Browne's sense of humor and characters kept me reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dianne E. Socci-Tetro TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Finishing Touches by Hester Brown

In 1981, an orphaned baby girl is left at the doorstep of a posh English finishing school, Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. The only thing she has is a cashmere shawl and a pin with a diamond-studded bee hanging from it with a note attached: "Please look after my baby. I want her to grow up to be a proper lady. Thank you". No one has a clue as to who could have left this girl child. And that is how the novel Finishing Touches starts.

This book has all the right things going for a light, fun chick lit read. Betsy is now 27 at that prime age for a chick lit novel. We have the mystery surrounding Betsy's parentage, the obligatory yummy man who happens to be her best friends brother and someone that Betsy has a huge crush on, inner conflict about finding out who her mother was. Was she one of the girls from the school? Betsy has mixed feelings over lying about her credentials and current job. Then to make matters worse she takes on the task to see if she can yank the antiquated Finishing school into the 21st century. We have other conflicts with the "old school" principal and the prerequisite semi-evil and semi-hateful widower grabber. Oddly this is one part of the story that I do not feel was wrapped up to my satisfaction.

Potential abounds, and the writer does follow the proven formula, but quite frankly, I can see this as a better movie than a book. It is as if Ms Brown has written this as a screenplay and not the novel it is!.

A lovely read for those who have read the rest of Ms Browne's books. A quick, mindless, fluffy lovely "beach" read.
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