Book Review: The Finishing Touches

Nancy's Review of The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Hester Browne has done it again with her fourth novel. The Finishing Touches is another expertly crafted story to come from the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Lady Agency trilogy. Published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, The Finishing Touches is a story about finding yourself amidst uncertainties in various aspects of your life. It is a story anyone can relate to.

Betsy Phillimore is the adopted daughter of Lord and Lady Phillimore who operate a finishing school in London. At twenty seven years old, Betsy comes back to the school after the loss of her mother. She finds the school in danger of closing and in desperate need of attention. She sets out to update the curriculum and bring the school back to life because she knows it is what her mother would have wanted. Betsy has always been curious about her birth parents and also decides to look for her birth mother. She feels lost and uncertain of who she truly is because she does not know the background of her biological parents or why they gave her up. Like many chick lit protagonists, Betsy has a lackluster love life that needs as much attention as the finishing school. She secretly desires her best friend Liv’s brother, Jamie, and has had a crush on him since they were kids. She struggles with his playboy lifestyle and the fact that the fantasy of being with him might be better than actually being with him. The students at the finishing school add a lot of fun to this novel. These girls are spoiled but they are trying to find their way in the world just as much as Betsy is, despite coming from wealthy backgrounds. Everyone is trying to figure out where they fit in.

Like Browne’s other novels, the relationships in The Finishing Touches are written incredibly well with believable, fresh dialogue. Browne really knows her characters, conveying them as endearing and witty. Betsy is a lovable protagonist who narrates the novel but it is Jamie who is the bright spot in this story. Browne truly has a knack for developing male characters, as also seen in her other novels. The Finishing Touches is a charming and unique story that is sure to touch readers. The Little Lady Agency trilogy is preferable but The Finishing Touches is a solid effort from Browne as her first departure from the Little Lady stories. The Finishing Touches is another winner among British chick lit.

For more information about The Finishing Touches, check out Simon & Schuster’s Web page for the novel where you can read about how Browne came up with the idea for it. You can also follow updates from Browne on Twitter. Her next novel, Swept Off Her Feet, is set for release in March of next year.

What do you think of this review? Have you read/will you read The Finishing Touches or any of Browne's other novels? Let us know!