Kathleen Tessaro Elegance

ISBN 13: 9780007161447

Elegance

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9780007161447: Elegance

An enchanting novel brimming with poignancy, humour, enchantment and insight, this is a stunning debut from an exciting new talent. Imagine an Audrey Hepburn film in the present day! It was a slim, grey volume entitled Elegance! Louise Canova is at a crossroads in her life. Her marriage is faltering and the insecurities of adolescence have returned to haunt her. Browsing in a second-hand bookshop, she stumbles across a faded grey volume. Written by the formidable French fashion expert, Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, Elegance is an encyclopedia of style. It promises to transform plain women into creatures of poise at all times. And from Accessories to Zippers, there is nothing that Madame Dariaux can't advise upon -- including inattentive husbands, false friends, and the powerful bond between mothers and daughters. When Louise vows to follow Madame's advice, her life is transformed in ways she never imagined. Within the book's pages lie clues to her own past. And as she begins to unravel them, she discovers a courage she never dreamt possible. However, everything, even elegance, has its price. Starting with A and finishing with Z, Elegance is a unique journey of timeless fashion, true friendship, and the rare, unexpected gift of love.

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About the Author:

Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro studied drama at Carnegie-Mellon University before emigrating to London. After ten years working as an actress in films, television, and theatre, she left the profession and spent several years working for the English National Opera, while training in the evenings as a drama teacher and voice coach. During this time, she began to write. Working on short stories during her lunch hour, she soon became a regular member of the Wimpole Street Writers Workshop, a collection of women authors who meet every week. She is married and lives in North London. Elegance is her first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

A frumpy, depressed woman is reborn as an assertive diva in Tessaro's debut novel, thanks to a 40-year-old style manual she discovers in a second-hand bookstore. Louise Canova is an American woman from Pittsburgh who lives in London with her chilly actor husband. Louise once dabbled in acting herself, but now works at a theater box office. She's overweight, badly dressed, has purely platonic relations with her husband and is surrounded by more-glamorous-than-thou types-her friend Nicki, a former model; her mother-in-law, a former model and a socialite-who condescend to her. Everything changes, however, when Louise discovers Elegance, a fashion guide from 1964 written by Genevieve Dariaux, a legendary (and fictional) Coco Chanel-like arbiter of taste. Quoting liberally from the guidebook, Tessaro writes a lighthearted contemporary version of Pygmalion. In this case, Louise is her own Professor Higgins, and using Dariaux's amusingly anachronistic (is anyone wearing veils these days?) yet timeless advice ("being beautiful is no guarantee of happiness in this world"), she changes her appearance, her self-image and her entire life. The author introduces each chapter with a relevant excerpt from the manual. This structure sometimes seems a bit forced, especially when Louise's husband turns out to be gay (there is no worthwhile advice from Madam Dariaux on that situation), but on the whole the book is a lively, irresistible read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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