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The Finishing Touches Paperback – Bargain Price, March 23, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a very pleasant book and a quick read, but ultimately not terribly interesting to me. I'm currently reading "The Handmaid's Daughter, which is much more fulfilling.Published 1 month ago by Lesley Lawrence
I enjoy Hester Browne but this is one of my least favorites of her books.Published 1 month ago by Michele R. Leuthold
Smart dialogue with likeable characters and an engaging story. A perfect combination as far as I am concerned! Loved it.Published 10 months ago by Aiyana
Hester Browne is my favorite Brit chic lit author. Her characters are classy, the stories are great, I always finish her books completely satisfied.Published 13 months ago by S. Gallagher