Wednesday 30 August 2017

House of Eliott by Jean Marsh

Two sisters, Beatrice and Evangeline. Dad dies, and they are left destitute. They also realize that  father dearest wasn't all he made out he was. His fortune had been philandered, and they are the worse off for it. Not to mention a predatory cousin who wants to claim his right to be their guardian, and marry one of them, and a revolting aunt, who is no help whatsoever, and flitters and flounces in and out of their lives, making things generally worse.

Beatrice, the elder, knows they need jobs. Evangeline just wants to dance - and she possibly could. Until she lands in some hot water and can’t anymore.

But fortunately these sisters have a sense of style that is soon noticed by all. By Beatrice's employer and his clients, and then the rest of high society. The girls quickly apply their fashion sense and dressmaking expertise, together with a sense of the outrageous, yet flattering, and stylish, but not overdone to revolutionise the fashion industry with their genius.

Do I sound a tad cynical? Well yes, this is an unlikely tale, based on a TV series, that went on to tell more about this fashion house. But if you can suspend your disbelief, it’s fun. Jean Marsh tells a good and happy story, filled with flighty, yet intelligent women, who are able to plot careers, and create gainful employment. It’s a fun and pleasurable afternoon, and they do all live happily ever after, with a few about-turns and near misses on the way.

It’s not bad - the writing flows, and it’s a diverting, if not wildly interesting read.

3 stars


You may also enjoy Kit by Marina Fiorato or Georgette Heyer’s Powder and Patch

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