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Madame Mirabou's School of Love [Paperback]

Barbara Samuel

Price: £9.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

28 Mar 2006
Sometimes real passion means living the life you’ve always wanted.

Nicole Bridges still can’t believe she’s taken up residence in a Colorado apartment complex nicknamed “Splitsville.” She’s still reeling from her husband’s affair, a divorce she never saw coming, and having to leave the upscale, comfortable world she helped make for her ex and their teenage daughter. With little money, even less work experience, and no idea what to do next, she takes tentative steps–if only to keep her head above water.

Along the way, Nikki unexpectedly finds herself falling in with eccentric new neighbors–and being seduced out of her funk by a charming, elusive ex-Londoner. And through her delight in the sensual elements of perfume, she will discover the courage to form bonds she never imagined. When a discarded flyer printed with the name “Madame Mirabou” provides the spark of inspiration, Nikki dares to blend the fragments of her life into a fragrance that’s uniquely and passionately her own.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really lovely story 18 May 2006
By E. Northrop - Published on
This novel tells a really lovely story about a recently-divorced woman reluctantly being forced to start her life over and find happiness and fulfillment.

All the characters are very well-written and well thought-out. Each one has a meaning and is not there for filler. I found all the emotions of the main character to be authentic, and her growing in fits and starts true to her situation - someone who did not want a divorce and grappled with so many emotions for her ex-husband (continuing love, anger, confusion), her daughter, her new friends, and eventually her promising new love.

The title of this novel suggests that it's some kind of quirky chick-lit story, but I think that is misleading. It is a novel of humor, yes, but not without lots of layers of other emotions. It even touches on depression and anorexia in the context of a secondary character in a thoughtful way.

I really enjoyed reading this book and was dreading the last page. It was a very satisfying reading experience.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read! 30 Mar 2006
By Armchair Interviews - Published on
For all the women who have loved, sacrificed themselves to that love and then lost it, Madame Mirabou's School of Love will resonate deep in their souls.

Nicole (Nikki) Carrington's house exploded due to an old and faulty furnace. It was the only thing of value that she received from her eighteen-year marriage to Daniel. Daniel even got custody of their fifteen-year-old daughter Giselle, who he has taken to London on vacation with his new wife. It's a trip Nikki always wanted to take and now she's homeless and "the other woman" is living her life.

At forty-three Nikki is firmly ensconced in a land called panic, fear and anxiety. But without the comfort of the family home, she is forced to leave her neighborhood and friends and find a new home in an apartment complex nicknamed Splitsville.

Without Nikki's insurance settlement she is low on cash, not to mention self-esteem. She takes a job as a waitress in a popular Colorado organic restaurant. There she learns to enjoy her work, the other employees and meets a dark, handsome and mysterious man from England.

Nikki takes stock of her life, explores the unrealized dream of owning a perfumery and realizes that her new eccentric neighbors are more real and a much better fit for her than those from the old neighborhood. Along the way she finds herself and learns that she can be happy and love again, if that is what she chooses.

Barbara Samuel's writing is complex, poignant, humorous and at times lyrical. Her story could be every woman's story and will touch your heart as the reader examines their life and the choices they make.

This is the first Barbara Samuel novel I have read--and it won't be the last.

Armchair Interviews says: Her characters are so real, you feel like you know them and when the last page is turned, you don't want to say good-bye.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One more reason to love Barbara Samuel's writing! 5 Nov 2006
By A reader from Missouri - Published on
I absolutely drooled all over Barbara Samuel's MADAME MIRABOU'S SCHOOL OF LOVE. I've been a Barbara Samuel (Who's also known as Ruth Wind when she writes for Harlequin.)fan for a long, long time. There's something about the rich flow of her language and her close-to-the-bone insight into her characters that fascinates me. I love that her books are about life, not necessarily as neat and pretty as we wish it was, but as it is. She writes about the struggles regular people face with eloquence and compassion. MADAME MIRABOU'S SCHOOL OF LOVE tells another one of these wonderful, rich, fabulous stories.

Nikki Carrington is recently divorced and unwilling or unable to let go of her former life until her house blows up. Left with nothing, she is homeless, jobless, and out of sync with who she used to be. To try to recover from the loss and rediscover the woman within, Nikki gets an apartment that happens to be in a building with another divorced woman and a soldier's wife, left behind when her husband is deployed. It is these women, and the women in the restaurant where Nikki gets a waitressing job, who encourage her and help her develop the courage to pursue dreams long set aside. As Nikki moves toward a life beyond her divorce and into a the tender beginnings of a new relationship, her neighbor Wanda, who helped Nikki regain her perspective, reveals the devastation that can occur when a woman refuses to grow and change.

Samuel recently won the Romance Writers of America® coveted Rita Award for her last book LADY LUCK'S MAP OF LAS VEGAS; I look for MADAME MIRABOUS SCHOOL OF LOVE to be a hot contender for next year's Rita.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, you CAN recover from betrayal with style! 15 Jun 2006
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Betrayal, from a friend, co-worker or even worse--your spouse is devastating. The whole process of one step forward and two steps back can seem so pointless unless you persist long enough to finally turn around and see how far you've come. This author

handles the horrible process of spouse betrayal and the recovery process with wisdom and sensual writing. Her use of perfumes

and their descriptions create a safe spot for the female lead to retreat to as well as create an entire new category to learn about. Discussions of essences and beautiful bottles, work in a fragant restaurant bring in food and menus and when the greatest new guy shows up! I almost held my breath all the way through the courtship! This is a delightful book about love, recovery, healing and could be enjoyed by everyone from teen to senior.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another tale of beauty and redemption 12 April 2006
By Gabrielle Luthy - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always know when it comes time for a new Barbara Samuel book that I'll be entering a magical world of beauty and poignancy, populated with characters who allow themselves to hope and love, despite what life has brought them.

This latest release holds true to that tradition. Barbara Samuel's been an automatic buy for me since 1995, when I read Lucien's Fall, and I've enjoyed the ride since. Her sensual writing style serves her extremely well in this story of Nikki, who dreams about opening her own perfumerie while coping with a divorce she didn't see coming, and the subsequent out-of-state move of her daughter. Not to mention the little matter of a blown-up house resulting in Nikki's arrival at an apartment complex that would not be her first choice of residency, if she only had a choice.

The people she meets there will change her life, as will those she meets at her new job, including the deliciously self-contained Niraj. As with many of Ms. Samuel's books, the characters in Madame Mirabou are from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds. All are treated with the warmth and compassion that makes this author's works stand out for me, and her insights into how life is, or how it can be if we only allow it, often bring me to tears.

Add to that a gorgeous cover in a matte finish that makes just holding the book a lush experience, and this is my favorite release of 2006. Fabulous.
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