Essentially a book about a young girl’s journey to find not only her mother’s history, but her own future, Holden writes a charming story with definite ‘chick flick’ potential.
Linda Stone has only the vaguest memories of her dead mother, until the day she receives a mysterious delivery. Long legged and flat chested, she hasn’t much of an opinion of herself, but she’s about to set off on a journey that teaches her more about herself than she ever imagined she would know… *Spoilers follow, please stop here if you don’t wish to know more details*
She travels first to Las Vegas (where she discovers her mother’s friend Dixie) and then to Paris, to learn from Madame Renaud and others that her mother (six feet tall with big feet, just like her daughter) had a whole different life as a headlining showgirl… she wore rhinestones, peacock feathers, glittering sandals, and precious little else. That she was La Gazelle, a sensual woman who was beautiful and shocking, unbelievably sexual and the talk of the town. So much so that she was chosen to be the star of the Parisian Folies Bergere, and had lovers aplenty. And Linda realises that all she has to do is to slip on her mother’s glittering sandals, follow in her footsteps and make her own path. Aided, needless to say, by the love of her life whom she also finds in Paris, the ugly duckling blossoms into a swan.
Holden writes well, each sentence leading into the next, leading you to turn the page, and then another and another. However, halfway through the book, enjoyable though it was, I couldn’t help feeling a little let down in that the plot seemed too fake, too contrived, too easy – everything falls into place, magically leading Linda to her mother’s secrets… I think I would have appreciated a little more mystery and some things remaining untold only to be guessed at. It lost its charm for me when everything was an open book. The heroine herself is charming, simple and yet complex, all that a protagonist should be and I never lost interest in her as a character.
All in all, definitely worth a read.
A book designer, Arati has always enjoyed books and the world of imagination that they open up. She is extremely accident-prone, due entirely to absent-mindedness caused by thinking about books and their contents, instead of paying attention to what she's actually supposed to be doing. She reads multiple books simultaneously, and her choices range from cookbooks and design manuals to fantasy, crime and Regency romances.
She lives and works in London, UK and sells her art on paper and textiles at Etsy