Customer Reviews


64 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:
 (10)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, even at four in the morning
I didn't intend to be finishing this at four in the morning, but it turned out to be a bit tricky to put down. I loved this, mostly because it surprised me with wit. The characters and commentary are beautifully observed. I can't believe it's a first novel.
"The English are a club not even the English can get into."
The first person narrator works very well...
Published on 10 Jun 2003

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
After reading so many reviews and being swept-away by its gorgeous front cover, I was expecting 'Elegance' to be much better than it was. I thought it was an interesting premise, using extracts from a book to structure the plot, but in the end I felt this meant the whole thing felt extremely stilted and artificial. The extracts from Madam Darieux were fascinating and...
Published on 14 Jun 2004 by raunchy_raquel


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, even at four in the morning, 10 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elegance (Hardcover)
I didn't intend to be finishing this at four in the morning, but it turned out to be a bit tricky to put down. I loved this, mostly because it surprised me with wit. The characters and commentary are beautifully observed. I can't believe it's a first novel.
"The English are a club not even the English can get into."
The first person narrator works very well and the idea of the book found in a bookstore - complete with exerpts from the real thing reminded me of the kind of books I used to want to find - those with a wisdom and grace I don't see much any more. It's a lovely idea. I bought this for my wife, and I know she'll love it and enjoy the rules of elegance as much as the main story.
This has class.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 14 Jun 2004
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
After reading so many reviews and being swept-away by its gorgeous front cover, I was expecting 'Elegance' to be much better than it was. I thought it was an interesting premise, using extracts from a book to structure the plot, but in the end I felt this meant the whole thing felt extremely stilted and artificial. The extracts from Madam Darieux were fascinating and Tessaro has a nice line in descriptions, but overall, I felt this was a triumph of style over substance - like an average chick-lit, but with higher pretensions. I felt the characters were rather unconvincing. I'd much rather be doing with Sophie Kinsella's books, which at least aren't afraid to be the light fluffy and very enjoyable reads they are. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy this book, just not as much as I could have done!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, left cheated by the end, 7 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
This books begins with a great premise, and is based on a great idea and from the start, is written very well, with the central character giving you lots of reasons to empathise, sympathise and generally care about her.
This feeling disappears the more you get into the book - you begin to wonder if the author somehow lost sight of the character she wanted to create and turns her into a hapless Bridget Jones-type (the kind of characters I am so tired of reading) and you begin to care less and less about what she does or thinks.
The middle and the end of the book seem to lack a lot of direction and structure - which were very strong at the beginning of the book.
I confess to skipping through the last few chapters, skim-reading just to get to the end - but was very disappointed by the end, especially because it had begun so strongly.
Borrow a copy, I don't think it's worth buying.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !, 25 Feb 2005
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
This book is excellent! I could hardly put it down. Although, it's got emotional ups and downs in the middle bit, but in general it is a very charming story and a cute happy ending. I love it, I can read it all over again!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, honest and very very funny - a knock-out!, 15 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Elegance (Hardcover)
American girl-about-London Louise uses Madame Dalraux's little book Elegance as a guide to finding fulfillment after a failed marriage. For me this stunner of a first novel could almost be used in the same way - as an aid to discovering ones deepest needs, and then pursuing them through thick and thin in a spirit of fun and resilience.
Told with a clear eye, the story unreels flawlessly round Madame Dalraux's alphabetical advice on everything from Girlfriends to Lingerie to Make-Up. 'By all means be quick to make the most of what make-up can, reasonably, do for your appearance but also be clever enough to know when to stop.'
At the start of the book, dowdy Louise is an emotional mess, trapped in a dreary flawed marriage. But gradually she picks herself up, galvanized by Madame D's promises for achieving elegance, and transforms her looks and love life with startling results. (The fasion makeovers are mouth-watering, the love scenes sexy and achingly funny by turns.)
Through a series of hilarious adventures and misadventures, Louise finds the confidence to admit to her dreams, and then to make them come true.
The characters are heartwarmingly quirky and real, the incidents sometimes moving, always recounted with a fantastic buoyant wit and the lightest touch. And then there are the men, one in particular...! But sheesh, better not spoil the story...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel crossed with a reference book, 29 Oct 2003
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
This book grips you from page one. It's title captures your attention and the little gems of advice about how to capture that 'elegant' look keeps the pages turning faster than an industrial fan on a high speed would! it's very well written, very witty, a bit bridget-jones (a singleton dressed inappropriately like a sex-vamp on a date in the classy and stylish Ritz!!), but most of all, whilst reading, you can't help getting obsessive about your own wardrobe and deciding to re-vamp your own image from tomorrow! BUY IT!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, with glimmers of brilliance, 20 Aug 2003
This review is from: Elegance (Hardcover)
I received "Elegance" as a gift and was not sure what to expect. I was very impressed with some of the opening chapters. I liked the concept of interweaving the ideas from the original "Elegance" - an encyclopaedia of style. The prose style was enjoyable, if undemanding, and I was intrigued to find out how the heroine had become such a mess.
I think Kathleen Tessaro deserves the most credit for her depiction of Louise's childhood. These flashbacks are filled with bathos and are sensitively written. I hoped the novel would veer into Carol Shields territory, exploring the undercurrents in Louise's life that had turned her from a "normal" child into a dippy chick lit cliche.
Unfortunately, this didn't happen. As I read on, the pages filled with caricatures and clunky plot devices, interspersed with slapstick humour. Louise seemed to learn nothing, she became very tiresome and the ending felt contrived.
I am sure this will be enjoyed as a light-hearted read by thousands, but I think the author has huge potential to produce something far less formulaic and with real depth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average Chick Lit!, 14 Aug 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elegance (Hardcover)
Elegance is a wonderful first novel. The inspiration for it isn't what you'd expect either. I found it fascinating to read the excerpts from the original "Elegance", gaining an insight into fashion and society before the rise of the Feminist Movement in the early 1970's. I think some of the advice is still relevant today. The heroine is Every Woman and you find yourself alternately sympathizing with her then wanting to give her shake. I highly recommend it! Now if only I could get my hands on a copy of the first "Elegance"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More recommended would be to read the original Madame Dariaux's encyclopedia, 23 Jun 2014
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
"Elegance" by Kathleen Tessaro is a story about the change, transformation of one woman from a miserable housewife to an elegant woman full of style.

The novel's story sounds familiar from some other novels and movies - its main character named Louise Canova is thirty-something woman who has boring job and boring marriage, being in relation with guy who doesn't have any sexual needs to fulfill and is being more interested in house decoration than his wife.
In an old secondhand bookshop Louise would find a forty-year-old encyclopedia of style called "Elegance" by French fashion expert Madame Dariaux that will give her the incentive to start feeling better, dressing better and lead to changes throughout her life...

This novel written in dark humor style would be able to bring smile on your lips, though most of the time actually sounds more like a sad confession of a woman prematurely entered the mid-life crisis.
Louise's life is sad one; she lives in poor relationship and does awful job all due to her iinsecurities and bad decisions.
Also she has a big problem concerning her diet, living with bulimia, which was slightly ridiculous shown although it's something much more serious than eating and vomiting that's her idea of eating lot of unhealthy meals and staying fit.

What probably most readers won't like are novel characters starting from main one who is presented like classic chick lit helpless girl, but also her husband that makes all British look like jerks so it seems that the characterization troubled author the most.

What's interesting is that most chapters are started with a quote from the original novel "Elegance" that actually really exists, most of which are interesting because of the appearance of retro trends in the fashion industry.

Overall, "Elegance" is novel which could be mainly characterized as chic lit, what makes it the most attractive to the type of audience that likes such literature.
It seems that comparing to this one, more recommended would be to read the original Madame Dariaux's encyclopedia on which this novel references.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start - disappointing finish, 23 May 2004
This review is from: Elegance (Paperback)
I enjoyed the first half of this book, but it went off horribly towards the end, and ended in a really cliched way. It was a great idea and could have been a terrific book but surely someone - tessaro's agent or her editor - should have got her to tighten up the second half. Also, I'm a bit sick of novels that end with a newly self-actualised heroine finding her soulmate and falling back in lurve. Call me a cynic, but Hollywood endings make me want to puke!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Elegance
Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro
£3.85
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews