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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some not so beautiful people
This is a big and rambling novel - over 600 pages - but it's the sort of book you can sink into. For the first two hundred pages it seems as though there's very little connection between the individual stories and then it all starts to come together.

There's Darcy, struggling actress and boyfriend Niall; Mitch the film and theatrical agent in LA; Sam the model...
Published on 7 Feb 2009 by Damaskcat

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful People, Terribly Stereotyped
Having read "Wives of Bath," and fairly enjoying it, I decided that I would pick up another of Holden's books to gain more momentary, marsh-mallow-fluffy pleasure. However, "Beautiful People," was a terrible disappointment.

Although the book is over 600 pages long, I only managed to reach the 400-page mark before giving up in bewilderment and disgust. The plot...
Published on 8 Feb 2010 by Amazon Customer


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some not so beautiful people, 7 Feb 2009
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Hardcover)
This is a big and rambling novel - over 600 pages - but it's the sort of book you can sink into. For the first two hundred pages it seems as though there's very little connection between the individual stories and then it all starts to come together.

There's Darcy, struggling actress and boyfriend Niall; Mitch the film and theatrical agent in LA; Sam the model agency head in London; Emma the nanny from the north working for Vanessa and James looking after Hero and Cosmo; Totty - upper class nanny jealous of Emma; Orlando - beautiful son of an MP and a pushy mother; Belle - size zero film star who's career is on the skids and whose latest relationship with up and coming film star Christian Harlow is about to disintegrate and Morning, adopted baby bought to save Belle's place in the limelight.
These separate threads are woven expertly together and all the characters end up in a small town in Italy for one reason or another. As ever with Wendy Holden, the characters are real and lovable and there are twists and turns that are very difficult to guess at. The title is ironic as the beautiful people are not always the ones who appear to be beautiful and the shallowness of the celebrity world is exposed.

I loved the second half of the book set in Italy. The descriptions of the countryside, the villas the characters stay in and the food eaten and not eaten are beautiful. The introduction of the restaurant owner and chef - Marco - is well done and he almost deserves a book to himself. The photographer - Ken - is also an interesting character and again I could bear to know more about him.

Crisp amusing dialogue, eccentric characters and a serious message concerning appearances makes this a must read for anyone who appreciates modern women's fiction. I loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wendy Holden is back...., 16 July 2009
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Best Crime Books "Best Crime Books" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Hardcover)
Having read and reviewed her last book and rating it as 2.5 out of 5 I didnt expect too much from this. But boy was I wrong! Wendy Holden has exceeded all expectation and written a chunky 600 page plus book full of loveable characters with a great storyline. There are a few characters that you get involved with which makes a refreshing change. There is Darcy the UK actress who "only does plays" and gets the opportunity of a lifetime to star in a US Blockbuster film. Belle the actress whos popularity has faded as quick as she can down a bottle of Champers, Emma the lovely nanny whos only goal is to get a great job in London looking after children and Orlando, the strikingly handsome young lad who is painfully shy and has a mother that wants him to be a social climber. Amongst all these characters we meet a few others along the way which eventually bring all of them together including Christian Harlow the playboy actor with an attitude to match, Ken the papparazzi who takes a break in his career and Totty the awful nanny. This was a cracking read that I read over 2 or 3 days. Fab book, and I would definately say she is back on top form.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful People, Terribly Stereotyped, 8 Feb 2010
This review is from: Beautiful People (Paperback)
Having read "Wives of Bath," and fairly enjoying it, I decided that I would pick up another of Holden's books to gain more momentary, marsh-mallow-fluffy pleasure. However, "Beautiful People," was a terrible disappointment.

Although the book is over 600 pages long, I only managed to reach the 400-page mark before giving up in bewilderment and disgust. The plot was, as far as I could see, virtually non-existant, and all the characters were wildly extremist and stereotyped. I always feel that to enjoy a book, you should like at least one character. In the case of "Beautiful People," I didn't really like any of them.

Belle Murphy- Your typical, Hollywood Bimbo. And that's the problem. She's far too typical. With her thin figure, inflated breasts and ice-blond hair, Belle Murphy is boring. Her screetching fits are boring. Her seeming hatred, or ignorance for the rest of mankind is boring. From the word "Go," it is impossible to do anything but despise her. Dumped by her boyfriend, surely the readers should feel a small stab of pity for a character that has not yet been properly introduced? As you delve deeper into the novel it becomes impossible to say why she isn't either dead or hasn't had an assasintaion attempt against her. To think that people admire this kind of creature is ludicrous- it simply isn't true. If Holden really wanted to extend her writing,then she should have made Belle have an 'edge', something about her that wasn't a complete diva or villain,something out of the ordinary. She failed. Epically.

Darcy Prince- The virtual opposite of Belle, but not particulary likeable because of it. I must admit that I did warm to Darcy far more than Murphy, but she still seemed rather one-dimensional- too much of an alkaline to Belle's acid. She, for all her determination to remian a "serious", yet Hollywood actress, falls for the revolting Christian far too easily, and this rather put me off her character. It's as if, equally with Niall, that she can't see past a pretty face. Does this enforce the stereotype that beauty is the only thing that matters? It is told to us, as public, that what you look like isn't important, it's the inside that counts. So why are all models stick-thin and gorgeous? Why are all movie-stars the same old mould? Although Holden attemps to satire this subject, she enforces rather than ridicules. Apparently, Darcy begins a realtionship with Marco by the end of the novel. Lovely. Nobody would have expected THAT at all.

Emma Sidebottom- The typical 'lovely' nanny, whose only fault, it seems, is to be a size twelve. Often descrbed as having 'a very pretty face', her incredibly nice nature begins to tire after a while. I haven't got a vendetta against nice people, or course. I just think that her character again was under-developed and she was, to use a teenager term, far too much of a "Mary Sue". The entire world, at some point I expect, has wished for the perfect man/woman or relationship. Surely it is imperfections that makes life fun and worth living? If all people were like Emma, then the world would be a better place, sure. But then again, it would all be so monotonous.

Sam Wild- A talent spotter for potential models. Again, not an unattractive person (there are none of these, with the exception of Mitch, inthis book) she searches high and low for Orlando- a gorgeous eighteen year old boy she spotted in the street. Her constant sizing up of people never failed to irritate me: "Not with that nose!" and "She was slightly too thick in the ankle,". Is that what the world is coming to? People can't be models unless they truly are 'perfection'? To quote Marco, these people 'leave me cold'. That, at least, was one good message in Holden's book. But he still fell in love with Darcy for her looks. It was just lucky that she was a nice person to boot.

Orlando- Socially-deficient, unattractive boy turned beautiful. However, he's still socially deficient and falls in love with the perfect Emma, two years older. Yawn, this kind of character has been done to death.

Mitch- ARRGGH!! I just wanted to kill him the entirety of the way through. Seriously, murder crossed my mind. Get a backbone! Stop eating jelly doughnuts!! Do something if you're so goddammned unhappy!!!

Oh the PLUS side, I did like two of the characters, but as they were hardly main they didn't sustain my interest enough to finish the book. Ken, the photographer, seemed to have a happy balance between cynicism and good nature. Jack Saint- the director- was odd, and I like odd a lot. Give me odd, weird, strange, unconventional and edgy any day. All these stereotyped characters provide no interest for me anymore, as they stay exactly as they are: conservative. Holden's book could have truly been brilliant if she had added necessary twists and turns that would have provided needed depth to each persona. There were a couple of one-liners that made me laugh out loud, and some of the situations (the helicopter trying to land on the rosebed) were so ridiculous, I wanted to gasp with horror and mirth simmultaneouly. It is these things that prevented me from giving the book one star instead of two, as, purely in writing style, the book wasn't too awful. Holden has always been readable,true. But I feel she really needs to add depth to her characters and really develop a plot if she wants to go from mostly good to always phenomenal.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful people.....Italian romance, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Kindle Edition)
This book is full of descriptions which help the reader envisage the scenes and scenery. Unfortunately the descriptions also obstructed the story. A reasonable book with a great ending, but not as amusing as the others that I have read of Wendy Holden.
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4.0 out of 5 stars light hearted dreams,love and humour, 5 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Kindle Edition)
Already a big fan of Wendy Holden, this book didn't disappoint. Easy reading and fun. Would recommend you give it a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beutiful People, 29 July 2012
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I enjoyed this book, it was enchanting, amusing, and just a very enjoyable read took take you out of your self
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 2 Jan 2010
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R. Spencer (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Hardcover)
I love this author, her books always made me laugh and provide good entertainment - a great holiday read!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holden is back on form, 11 May 2009
By 
Ms. K. Tomlinson (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beautiful People (Hardcover)
This book is classic Holden. It is funny, easily readable and the story carries you along. I found a couple of her more recent releases (The Wives of Bath and School for Husbands) were not quite up to the standard of her earliest books but this is a definite return to form. You always know what to expect with a Wendy Holden book and that is why I love them. This made me laugh out loud and kept me entertained the whole way through. I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too unbelievable!, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: Beautiful People (Paperback)
I read a lot of books from a diverse range of authors but this is the first for me by Wendy Holden and I am sure it won't be the last as I am curious to see if her other novels are better.

First the positive points. Holden has a fun and witty approach and I found myself laughing out loud at times, She writes not without irony (even the title is ironic) about rude, rich snobs, size-zero "babes" and crazy life-styles. The many double-barreled names, such as Totty Ponsonby-Pratt are quite hilarious and you just know you are going to enjoy disliking these people. The reader certainly feels more compassion for the gentler, down-trodden "heroes" of the novel, even though you want to give those particular characters a kick up the bum at times! A "vile" little dog named Sugar provides a good deal of comic relief throughout with his hatred for everyone except his extremely skinny and (fake) large-breasted mistress, Belle. A former big Hollywood name, you have to love and laugh at Belle for her sheer stupidity and rudeness, (how did she ever make it in the first place?). Mitch, her hard-working and unappreciated agent, with a heart even bigger than his belly and passion for jelly doughnuts, tries to help her get back to the top of her profession after a major flop film, (though it is unclear as to why after the way Belle treats him!). Kind-hearted Emma with her wonderful skills as a Nanny and genuine love of children (there has to be at least one character without a single vice I guess but I found myself screaming at her to get some damned self-respect!) Darcy with her rigid desire to stay in London, follow her principles as a "serious" Shakespearean actress and never EVER to become famous (ahem!). The beautiful shy teenager, Orlando with his angelic good looks (though nobody gets to see them very often as he mopes around with his head down all day). The truly despicable Christian, a handsome rising actor who has ideas above his station and thinks he is god's gift to women, (oh how you just want him to fall flat on his face!)....

Fictitious names in the novel mingle nicely with real-life ones. There are also a few intriguing snippets about famous people which I take to be fact and which fit in well with the story. Madonna wore the same track suit for years when she went jogging so the press would not be interested in taking yet more of the same photos of her as they would be unsalable and David Bowie disguises himself on the tube with cheap sunglasses and a Turkish newspaper! All good fun. The book rolls along nicely and so I read on, keen to know what twists and turns may be in store and grinning at times, such as during the scene at Puccini's - "L.A's hottest Italian restaurant" - which was for people who "did not really eat", and therefore the only pasta it served was "nude ravioli" (steamed spinach - without the pasta!).

However, once the story moved to Italy, I had a feeling my enjoyment may be short-lived - though not in the way I had expected. I have lived in Tuscany for many years and have read novels based in this country which are so inaccurate it makes me cringe!. In this case, Holden's description of Tuscan life is quite charming and realistic and, whilst she perhaps goes into more detail than necessary about the food and flavours of the region, the obvious aim is to emphasize the joy of a wholesome meal versus a diet of lettuce leaves and raw fennel. However, after a little taste of Tuscany at Marco's homely trattoria, all seems to go rather downhill.

**SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***

Just HOW can so many people from all wakes of life who appear in the first half of the book but who were not all connected with one another - actors, director, nannies and their charges, a Foreign Office worker and wife, modelling agent, MPs and their wives, beautiful teenager Orlando, middle-aged paparazzo who decides to take a holiday on a whim - end up together in the VERY SAME tiny village in Tuscany, eating at the very same quaint little restaurant? Please! Tuscany is a large county! I know all about suspending disbelief, but this novel really takes it many steps (up a winding hill to the village of "Rocalo") too far! It became so ridiculous that it no longer surprised me when some characters bumped into each other at the Duomo in Florence - I even expected it! I also noticed spelling errors and several inconsistencies - my pet hate.

So many of Holden's "Beautiful People" characters are irritating, shallow, weak and/or bossed around! How can Orlando's father let the vile Faugh twins talk to his beloved son the way they do and never ONCE tell them to shut their big horsey mouths? How come he (an MP) was so weak he allowed his social-climbing wife to ruin their Tuscan holiday by inviting the free-loading Faugh family in the first place? How could James (working away often with the Foreign Office) have let his wife, Vanessa walk all over him, sack Emma, who he knew was a "wonderful" nanny to his two kids and allow a replacement he did not trust to take Emma's place? Yet at the end he changed completely, suddenly becoming the protective doting father, seething at the previously much-feared wife for sending the children off to Italy with new nanny, Totty? How could.... well, I could go on but then that's the story I guess and perhaps I am being too critical!

If you have a VERY high capacity for suspending disbelief, go with the flow and enjoy the book. However, for me the last half was so predictable. Everyone and his DOG (or rather Belle's dog - how did it get to travel about on all those international flights in her tote bag anyway?) were very conveniently gathered in the same Tuscan village. The story ran to its predictable conclusion as fast as I could say, "nude ravioli!".... and I was left feeling rather disappointed. 2.5 out of 5
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad editing, weak ending, 30 July 2009
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The bad editing let down this book - doesn't anyone know the difference between complimentary and complementary anymore? There were a lot of other mistakes which jarred. The plot was decent, a good mix of pleasant and Chardonnay-type characters but the ending did not tie up what happened to everyone and felt a chapter short. It's better than School for Husbands but not quite as good as Wendy Holden's first books for which I blame the editing, the writing needed tightening and correct spellings would have been a bonus!
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Beautiful People
Beautiful People by Wendy Holden (Paperback - 6 Aug 2009)
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