December 11, 2013

[Review] Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

Title: Belle Epoque
Author: Elizabeth Ross
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Genre: Historical, Young Adult
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Source: Random Buzzers
Purchase: Amazon | TBD | B&N | Kobo

When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.

The cover is gorgeous, isn't it? That is what drew me to it and then I read the synopsis, it was like a double whammy. I love reading about France (since that is where my ancestors are from), but this isn't like your normal Parisian romance story. This is one that revolves around Maude and her job as a "foil" and her loyalties.

Maude runs away to France to escape an arranged marriage that he father is setting up. She dreams of a life other than her own, but what she finds is anything but that. She soon finds herself out of money and in need of a job, so she finds an ad for an agency and interviews. This isn't your normal agency. It's an agency for ugly girls. An agency where well-to-do clients come and pay to have you make them look prettier. Maude is hesitant at first and walks away from the job but soon realizes she needs it to survive.

Maude is your typical character who rises above. She starts out with nothing and still manages to be happy in the end. She struggles to make a living and then when she gets a job, she gets so wrapped up in her job that she forgets who she really is, but makes some wonderful friends along the way and makes new discoveries as well.

While the story was good, I feel that it lacked some potential. I can't quite put my finger on what type of potential however. The ending was also predictable. I saw it going either one of two ways, and sure enough, it did just that. I feel as if this could have had a few different twists to the story. But all in all, this was a decent story and I do recommend this book.


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