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Review: Belle Epoque ( Elizabeth Ross)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 336
Publisher: June 11th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers            
ISBN: 9780385741460
Genre: historical fiction
Source: ARC


Belle EpoqueWhen 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.




Loved it from the first page. I loved the setting, the characters, and the whole idea behind this book.

As I started reading Belle Epoque, it became apparent to me that this was similar to The Luxe series. Maybe it's not an obvious comparison, but bits and pieces from the sage seemed to fit.

I think Isabelle was my favorite in this book. She was strong willed and brilliant. Her "other side" made her a unique feature in this typical society. Maude was what you would expect. She had a lot to learn about herself as the story progressed. Her actions were expected, but also necessary for the remainder of the book. No real surprises there. In all honesty, the majority of the characters were predictable, but it didn't bother me. I was so caught up in the actual story that I ignored the fact that I knew every turn of the plot. It was just a fun read.

If you have any interest in France or turn of the century French society, you will enjoy this one. All the gilded glory of the early 1900s French high society is wrapped up between these covers. The author did a great job describing the characters. The emphasis was not placed so much on how they looked, but in their actions-- which really helped underline the theme of beauty only being skin deep.

I do recommend this one for historical fiction fans, or fans of period writings. It's not profound or overly accurate in its historical tidbits (basic research skills, nothing more than that), but it is super fun to read. A great beach or rainy day read!

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