Louise Canova should be happy and in love. But her actor husband seems to be growing distant and she doesn't know why. Is it her fault? Riddled with uncertainty, the insecurity she thought she'd left behind in adolescence comes back to haunt her.
But when she discovers a faded volume titled Elegance in a secondhand bookshop, she believes she's found the answers. Written by French fashion expert Madame Dariaux, Elegance is an encyclopedia of style that promises to transform plain women into creatures of grace and poise. From Accessories to Zippers, there's nothing Madame can't advise upon -- including inattentive husbands, false friends, and the absolute importance of seductive lingerie.
The lessons Louise learns have a surprising effect and an outcome she never expected. Within the book's pages lie clues to her past, and she discovers that everything, even elegance, has its price.
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Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro emigrated to London where she worked as an actress in films, television, and theater, while training to be a drama teacher and voice coach. She is the author of the novels Elegance, Innocence, and The Flirt. Kathleen currently lives in Pennsylvania.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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