Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Finishing Touches - Hester Browne


Twenty-seven years ago, an infant turned up on the Academy's doorstep, with a note tacked to her blanket by an elegant golden brooch -- Please take care of my baby. I want her to grow up to be a proper lady. Loved by Lady Frances Phillimore and her kindhearted staff, Betsy grew up aspiring to be an Academy girl. But when Franny and her husband, Lord Phillimore, advise Betsy to instead hone her considerable math skills at college, she brokenheartedly leaves behind the only family she's known.

Now, on the sad occasion of Lady Frances's memorial service, Betsy comes back to find the school in disrepair, the enrollment down, and Lord P. desperate to save his legacy. Enter Betsy, the numbers genius, and her business plan -- to replace dusty protocol with the essentials girls need today: cell phone etiquette, eating sushi properly, handling credit cards, choosing the perfect little black dress, negotiating a pre-nup, and other lessons in independent living.

But Betsy may have bitten off more than she can chew. Can she win over the school's snobby headmistress and its handsome but risk-averse treasurer? Returning to London also means facing her own unfinished business, as she crosses paths with her sexy girlhood crush...and blowing the dust off clues to a lifelong mystery: who were her parents, and why did they abandon her? If knowledge is power, Betsy is on the brink of truly becoming her own woman, and embracing the one thing she's wanted all along: a place to call home.

Cole's Review:
When this book's opening pages was a funeral, I didn't hold too much hope for a good book.  Boy, was I wrong!!  This book is epitome of modern British chick-lit.

The beginning of Betsy's life was quite eventful.  Left on the doorstep of a highly popular London finishing school, Betsy is brought up by the owners and taken under the wing of their staff.  When it comes time Betsy to choose a university, her adopted parents push her to pursue that instead of attending the finishing school she was brought up in.

Flashing forward, we see Betsy attending the funeral of her adopted mom.  While she loves her adopted dad, you can palpably feel the love between Betsy and her mom.  Meanwhile, she quickly determines that the finishing school needs some serious updating - both in upkeep of their facility and the courses taught to their students, and that's is finally time to determine her biological origins.

With her best friend Liv and Liv's brother, Jamie - can they save the finishing school?  Will Betsy finally admit to her lifelong crush on Jamie and find love?  Her endearing goofy clumsiness will have you routing for her from start to finish!

Grade: A

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