Monday, January 31, 2011

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Book description:
A fading English finishing school gets a twenty-first-century makeover in this modern-day fairy tale. Twenty-seven years ago, an infant turned up on the doorstep of London’s esteemed Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. Now, Betsy Phillimore returns to the place where she was lovingly raised by Lord and Lady Phillimore, only to find the Academy in disrepair and Lord P. desperate to save his legacy. Enter Betsy with a savvy business plan to replace dusty protocol with the essentials girls need today: cell phone etiquette, eating sushi properly, handling credit cards, choosing the perfect little black dress, negotiating a pre-nup, and other lessons in independent living. But returning to London also means crossing paths with her sexy girlhood crush . . . and stirring up the mystery of who her parents are and why they abandoned her. Will the puzzle pieces of her past fall into place while Betsy races to save the only home she’s ever known?

This story about a finishing school on its last legs and foundling determined to bring it back to glory was light and enjoyable, but could have been so much more. The underlying story was perfect for a British chick-lit book but had elements that could have been developed into a deeper more literary novel. The characters were likeable and well-written though some could have used more backstory and development. I was also disappointed that some promising plot twists (possible embezzlement for example) were raised then simply allowed to die.

All in all, this was an enjoyable book but I couldn't help shake the feeling that it was missing some spark.

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