Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Beauty & Lace Book Review: 
Her Mother's Secret by Natasha Lester

Having read Natasha's novel 'A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald' that was released last year, which I thoroughly enjoyed (you can read my review on it here), I couldn't wait to read Her Mother's Secret. I finished it over the weekend, and I loved it.

The story begins in England, 1918.
Leonora East is a young woman who works in her father Harold's pharmacy and spends her spare time secretly making cosmetics and perfumes. She dreams of selling them to a much wider audience than she currently sells to - the army nurses based close by, including her Australian-born friend Joan.
She wants women to not only look beautiful, but feel it too.

When war is declared over, it should be a time of celebration.
But there is an influenza outbreak, and sadly Leo's father doesn't make it. 
Leo knows that her father wanted her to expand her horizons and become a success, so with that in mind, she makes the decision to travel to New York where she plans to create and sell her cosmetics.
On the way there, a storm hampers her travels and she is put up at an establishment until the storm passes.
She meets Everett Forsyth, a businessman who owns the department store Forsyth's of London. He plans to open another store in New York and when he finds out about Leo's plan, he offers to sell her cosmetics in the store.
When she arrives in Manhattan, with dwindling finances, and the challenges of make-up being seen as scandalous, Leo realises that she may have bitten off more than she can chew, but is determined to become a success.

New York, 1939.

Everett Forsyth's daughter Alice is an up-and-coming ballerina who trains hard, and wants to be the best in her field.
One day, she receives an offer to star in a series of advertisements for a cosmetics company. 
Alice sees it as the perfect opportunity to gain recognition and give her confidence the boost it needs.
But when she informs her parents, they are quick to forbid Alice from being involved. But why?

I find stories like this one difficult to review, the reason being that there is so much more to this story that I want to say but can't disclose as I don't want to spoil it for others.
What I can say is that Natasha has hit the mark again with this book.
Her extensive research is evident throughout the story and I learnt many things about the cosmetics industry that were unfamiliar to me.
Natasha has a real talent at making the reader feel as though they are living right alongside the characters in the story. I felt it when reading A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I felt it again in this book. 
Her descriptions of the fashions from that era, and the surrounds and sights are all told so well.
I also enjoy reading about strong, determined, ambitious women, which Leo certainly is. 
With elements of mystery and romance weaved through the story, this book kept me captivated right to the end!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Her Mother's Secret thanks to Hachette Australia and Beauty & Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website, head here.
I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. 

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