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    Manners Maketh The Woman

    I was actually quite disappointed with this book as it lacked some of the warmth of the previous Hester Browne novels I have read. I'm not sure why really as all the ingredients are there for a comforting romantic comedy but I just felt like I was reading all the time rather than living vicariously through the pages of the book. This could quite likely be because I just could not take the heroine of this book, Betsy, seriously as a character. She lacked a certain depth somehow and everything seemed to be just about her surface veneer. The tale itself is actually quite a decent one, just don't expect any surprises or real tension. Betsy's love interest is flagged up early and from the first few chapters you know exactly who she is going to end up with. There is a real possibility for interest with her search for her birth mother but that didn't really work for me that well as I wasn't really invested in the character. Many of the supporting characters, especially the handful of girls at Treadwell's Academy, are caricatures rather than real people - particularly noticeable with the headmistress of the Academy. Of course the setting is a rather rarefied atmosphere of the Finishing School and one that is firmly set in he 1950s with it's attention to dining etiquette and how to greet various echelons of Society. To be honest I kept comparing it to the finishing school in Shirley Conran's Lace (I love that book) and found it coming up short. The thread that deals with Betsy's ideas to bring the school up to date is well plotted and fairly realistic; to be honest I left the book wishing there was somewhere you could go that would teach you how to deal with the Modern World- but the world in the book is a stratosphere away from the one I inhabit so knowing how to get papped without looking like you have had major plastic surgery that failed wouldn't be high on my list of priorities. In short it is an enjoyable, fluffy read that didn't suck me to another world or really involve me in the life of the characters. Ideal coffee break read really as you can pick it up and put it down without feeling ike you just have to read one ore chapter.
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