Thursday, 15 July 2010
Book Review - Heaven, Hell and Mademoiselle by Harold Carlton
Heaven, Hell & Mademoiselle by Harold Carlton(buy me)
Four young fashion hopefuls arrive in Paris, 1968, determined to claw their way to the top of the ruthless world of the haute couture. Monique, a seamstress destined to become so much more, watches Chanel's staff spray No 5 perfume in the street outside the famous maison de couture. Can her dreams of success and love come true in this magical place? Christopher, London born and bred, a handsome new designer, determined to make it in a world where sex-appeal and success go hand in hand - and heterosexual men are rare and prized. Samantha, an ultra-spoiled Daddy's girl who always gets her way, has the gift of selling French perfume and fashion with sex, sex and yet more sex. But can a loud, brash American ever conquer the sophisticated ladies of Paris? And hauntingly beautiful Sophie, the top model who becomes Chanel's 'Face' on a million billboards and magazine covers, yet has a terrible secret in her past that refuses to stay buried. Four young lives collide and entangle in the secretive world of French fashion as Harold Carlton weaves a spellbinding tale of passionate love, ambitious rivalry and exquisite clothes.
My Grandma never left me alone when I told her I had a Harold Carlton book for review 'oh I love him....my favourite book of his is Labels...oh once I picked it up I couldn't put it down' she went on and as my nan has never been wrong about a great author I trusted her word and waited until the girls where away so I could start reading!
Harold Carlton manages to combine his inside knowledge of fashion with the brilliantly described main characters at the same time as throwing in humour and atmosphere which perfectly evokes Paris at the time.The story is set in the late sixties going in to the seventies. It is a stunning portrayal of what life in retro, post-war, pre-seventies hippie must be like. I was amazed with this unexpected read which felt like a tribute to the legendary Mademoiselle Chanel. It left me comparing notes with the history of her, although some facts are changed the basic idea of how Chanel must be like, and how a fashion house operates are convincingly real.
Overall I agree with my Grandma Harold is a great writer but this novel wasn't for me I felt it was a little too long even though I enjoyed the characters and the plot there where many parts I found myself skimming across. I do recommend this book to anyone with a love for Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada it is a 'Fashionista read'(and believe me when I say I'm no fashionista I just LOVE The Devil Wears Prada).
Happy Reading xxx