10 May 2010

Book Review: The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Every girl should know what the finishing touches are.

That dash of gloss on the cheekbones to lift your complexion.
High heels for poise, and a luscious lipstick for the perfect pout.
It’s the spritz of perfume on the pulse points and the...
....ability to stand on your own two feet?

When 21st century girl Betsy is called in to rescue an exclusive finishing school from financial ruin, she knows she must change the school drastically, if it’s ever to survive. So it’s out with debutante decorum and in with modern manners and man-management. But before she can teach the girls how to walk in high heels, Betsy may just have to remember how to wear them herself. With the added bonus that her gorgeous friend Jamie and the surprisingly hunky bursar Mark both seem to rather approve of her new stilettos...

I've not read any of Hester Browne's books before so when I was sent this to review by Hodder, I was quite excited because I enjoy finding new authors that I can enjoy the work of. This book looks very cute - it has a sweet pink cover, and looks like a real girly read which is just what you need sometimes! I didn't know all that much about Finishing Schools and the like before I read this, so I went into it with a pretty open mind and I am pleased that I did because it was a very enjoyable read, and I think it's a great little book to lose yourself in for a few hours.

The book follows Betsy, a woman who was adopted by the owners of a Finishing School when she was a baby. Her parentage has always been a mystery to her, but it hasn't bothered Betsy until recently. I really loved Betsy as a character - she was very likeable, you could sympathise with her situation and I loved the gusto she put into reforming her parents Finishing School. I wondered how relevant a story like this would be today because I think Finishing Schools are nowadays more popular amongst the rich, but Hester Browne makes the whole scenario very easy to get into and read about, and it was fun to see how the school was modernised throughout the book.

We meet a few of the students of the school throughout the book, and they were a great addition to the  book. They were funny, honest and were a nice opposite to Betsy's normality throughout the whole book. While I loved Betsy as a lead character, my favourite of the bunch has to be her scatty best friend Liz. Liz doesn't live in the real world, she has an allowance from daddy that she spends on anything and everything she wants, so when she's cut off, it leads to some rather hilarious consequences. These scenes are touching as they allow for the fab relationship between the two best friends to build slowly, and I'd have loved to have seen more of them in the book.

I loved the mystery element throughout the book of who Betsy's mother way. I was sure that I had figured it out but I was wrong which was great as it shows Browne is capable to leading her readers down one path only to flummox them at the next turn. I do love a book that isn't overly predictable, and The Finishing Touches definitely falls into that category. It's a fun story about the importance of love and trust in a family, as well as a fun and often hilarious look at life inside a modern day Finishing School that still has its standards set back in the olden days!

If you have enjoyed Hester's other books, then I think you'll like this one too. It's very easy to read, the writing style is fantastic and I thought the characterisation and dialogue throughout the book was spot on. It's a sweet little book - it's candy pink cover promises 100% chick lit, and it certainly delivers on this. After reading this book, I am looking forward to hunting out more of Hester's work as I expect it will be just as good as this. This is a perfect book to snuggle up  with on the sofa or in bed and lose yourself in - great characters, a fun story... a fab book!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.


  1. That is a gorgeous cover...sounds good!

  2. Great review! It's next in my to read pile so now I'm really looking forward to it.

  3. I loved Hester Browne's Little Lady trilogy so I am really looking forward to adding this new book to my beach read pile.