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

4.1 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416540083
  • ASIN: B0057DAN7U
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read the Little Lady Agency series, I hoped Hester Browne's other books would be as good. This one is good, lots of developed characters, including a baddie to two, and a mystery that gets solved/wrapped up by book's end. Enjoyed every page.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Well written, great characters, a little intrigue and another taste of Hester Brownes signature style of bringing a time gone by to a modern world.
I also loved the wee tips that are peppered through the book on etiquette and life skills.
A great read, opens the heart, educates the mind and generates a great sense of inner fabulousness, enjoy, enjoy, xx
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do you need to know which silverware to use when you're served a banana for dessert? Maybe, if it were about 150 years ago and bananas were considered exotic and were very expensive and hard to get. Nowadays you're more likely to find yourself wondering how to properly use chopsticks or whether you eat edemame with your fingers or a fork.

I'm a huge fan of manners for the modern girl and this book was super entertaining! The protagonist, as a newborn, was left on the doorsteps of a prominent finishing school where she grew up. Nearly 30 years after that fateful day of being abandoned by her birth mother, she sets out to learn the identity of her mother while at the same time saving the finishing school that has gone out of fashion with modern times.

Great read!
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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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Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely delightful novel, I hated to see it end. Ms. Browne's wittiness and compassion for a woman looking for answers about her origins and ending by finding so much more about herself and those close to her is very satisfying. Her delicate weaving of emotional ups and downs, gentle humor, romance and her trademark group of fascinating characters, both attractive and not so much, kept me glued to the story. For the reviewer who said it didn't go anywhere, I suggest that said more about her to than this charming story. Also the writer always has the most delicious men involved, and romances that develop gracefully and satisfyingly. I just discovered this writer and read 3 of her books within the last few weeks. I'm looking forward to more.
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