Monday, April 17, 2017

Recently Read: Belle Epoque

Author: Elizabeth Ross
Genre: Young Adult- Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 336
Rating: 3/5

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Maude has run away from her home and father to avoid an arranged marriage to a man more than double her age, and she has landed in Paris. There she finds the city to be a difficult place to survive on her own, until she comes across an ad in the newspaper offering work to young women. Maude soon finds out that this work is acting as an average-looking foil to the society women who want to appear more beautiful. Maude must decide if this work, and a new-found friendship with her first client, is worth the sacrifice of her pride, or if the job even requires any sacrifice of her pride at all.

I ordered this book from Book Outlet quite a while ago and didn't know much about it, besides the basic idea of a foil and it taking place in historical Paris. I'm glad I ended up picking this one up, as it was an enjoyable read. 

The pacing of the book was spot on, and Maude was a likable character. I was intrigued by the idea of beauty foils and was not surprised to find out that this practice is rooted in fact. It is interesting to examine the lengths that women of the past and present go to in order to obtain 'beauty' and how that idea of beauty changes with time.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, this one is worth checking out. It was quick and enjoyable and the historic Paris setting is always amazing to visit.

One of my favorite elements of this novel was that it was set against the backdrop of the construction of the Eiffel Tower, which the majority of people detested at the time. This worked perfectly as a metaphor for the changing ideals of beauty, as the Eiffel Tower is now the most well-known symbol of Paris and one of the most recognized structures in the world. 

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