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Beautiful People [Paperback]

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Book by Holden, Wendy

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By Mrs. Q: Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Title: Beautiful People
Author: Wendy holden
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 410
Source: Publisher

Synopsis:

Wendy Holden's Beautiful People is a fun, witty, story about the trial and tribulations of the acting industry. There are those who are famous for their love of acting, and those who are actors because of their love for being famous. Darcy, a young British struggling actress receives a call from a Los Angeles agent wanting to put her in the next big movie. Reluctant at first, her agent convinces her that this is be the best thing for her. Once she has enough money, she will be able to pick and choose the roles she wants. At this point in her life she needs to take what she can get. While she is in Los Angeles, the newspapers turn up with photos of her boyfriend. Her boyfriend, kissing Belle Murphy, Hollywood's size zero starlet. Belle was the hottest star a year ago. After her recent million dollar movie flopped, afraid to be forgotten, she adopts an African baby to gain publicity. However, the paparazzi lost interest quick and now she is stuck with a crying infant. She has a nanny but she refuses to pay her. Belle will do anything to stay in the public's eye. She loves being famous, acting not so much...

Overall Impression:

This book is very hard for me to review. There are many secondary characters, that are all tied together by the end of the book. There are many, many secondary characters and for that reason I had a hard time with my synopsis. The two characters I was mostly interested in was Belle and Darcy. Belle's nanny Emma was also a favourite of mine. Her character has a 'Nanny Diary' feel and I really enjoyed reading her storyline. This is a chunky novel, and I did enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great New Voice for US Readers of Women's Fiction April 6 2010
By Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I gobbled up Beautiful People, a fun story of the acting industry on both sides of the pond, Hollywood and the London stage. Darcy, a young British actress is the daughter of an acting family where the stage is the ultimate form of their craft and film is a lower form of the art. Belle is a young Hollywood actress desperate for a come-back after her recent meteoric rise and then sudden crash-and-burn. The lives of these two extremely different young actresses intersect in Southern Italy, along with former boyfriends and lovers, and potential new lovers and friends in a hysterical series of almost improbably coincidences and run-ins. The novel is peppered with secondary characters that are no less interesting than our heroine and antagonist. Emma, the conscientious Nanny who falls in love with her charges; Orlando, the extraordinarily beautiful, shy young man bullied by a social climbing mother, who is unsure of his future path, and Marco the amazing chef/owner of a wonderful local bistro are all people I would want to sit and have coffee with, or a glass of wine at Marco's restaurant. Not so much though for Christian, the opportunistic Hollywood heart-throb or Niall the pretentious wanna-be London stage actor, both of whom use women shamelessly, Christian at least admitting to everyone about his intentions.
Not only did Beautiful People have me laughing, I was entranced enough to not put the book down, hoping that certain characters would succeed and prosper and others would get a good comeuppance or smack in the face. Light-hearted women's fiction can sometimes be predictable, which is definitely not the case with Beautiful People.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather Like a Twinkie April 2 2012
By BookReader - Published on Amazon.com
There's fun to be had in this book, but you really have to turn your brain off or not have much of one to begin with. The characters seem to all be written by an alien who's never really met people but saw a few cliches on TV once. The self-centered, dumb, fake, surgically enhanced Hollywood bimbo with the evil teacup dog, The Jerk Hollywood hunk, the stressed out insecure career mom, the mild and absent husband, the practically perfect lovely, fresh, in-it-for-the-art actress who can do no wrong, the sweet chubby nanny who loves kids... There's no subtlety, no twists, no depth to the characters. The plot only surprises when you really didn't think the author was going to be that predictably cliche, and turns out you were wrong.

Still, the bad guys were bad, the good guys were good, and all got their perfectly tailored karmic comeuppance in the end. There's a certain junk food enjoyability to it - not everything has to be Shakespeare - but you really have to be in the mood for a literary Twinkie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Bad Heir Day March 12 2012
By City Mom - Published on Amazon.com
I've quite enjoyed Wendy Holden's previous works - witty, escapist Chick Lit yes, but well written, sharp and funny.

This latest volume seemed to be lacking in every way. I don't find child abuse funny in any story, any light, any way no matter how amusing the set up is or if they are ok in the end. I don't think it should be part of a comedy plot line at all. It's one thing to use satire and wit to show the human condition in all it's hilarity but not kids. Use another literary device next time please!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time Feb. 3 2012
By WhittyWhit09 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was honestly one of the worst written books I've ever read. And I've read A LOT of books. I normally like chick lit, but this book was so inane I couldn't bring myself to finish it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful people, ugly souls! April 21 2011
By Leah Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Belle Murphy was supposed to be Hollywood's hottest young star, but it all fell apart when her latest movie flopped spectacularly. To try and get herself back into the media's good books, Belle heads off to London, via an African adoption agency, to star in Shakespeare. Can she claw her way back to the top of the Hollywood pile again? Darcy Prince is a beautiful English rose, who has her heart set on being a "proper" actress, when the call comes from Hollywood - LA's hottest director wants her in his new movie. A movie that will rival Star Wars. It's everything an actress should ever want, so why is Darcy so reluctant to go? Via a lot of mix-ups, the two girls eventually lock horns over men, dieting and just which one of them is the bigger star. Throw in a nanny, a chef, and a boy so beautiful he could be a model, and you have a fiery encounter just waiting to happen.

Although my synopsis above mentions Darcy and Belle, they don't even appear at the beginning of the book. Belle comes in around about 20 pages in, whilst Darcy doesn't arrive until maybe 100-ish pages. I found that peculiar, but not off-putting. The book actually starts by introducing us to Sam Wild, who runs Wild, a modelling agency. After scouring the streets for any talent, she bumps into a bollard and comes face-to-face with the beautiful Orlando. After asking him if he would like to be a model, he scarpers, leaving Sam feeling frustrated. We then meet Emma, who it turns out, is a nanny, who has just left her parents' home up North and is looking for a job in London. We then go on to meet a whole array of characters throughout the book, who all seem to lead separate lives to each other. And for near-on 500 pages, that's the way it stays. Sure, a few of their lives intertwine but to all intents and purposes they're all leading their own life with no connection to anyone else we read about. It took a long long time for Belle and Darcy to lock horns and even then, it wasn't as if they were clawing each others eyes' out.

Coming it at under 700 pages, you're in for a long slog of reading to really get anywhere in the book. For the first 500 pages, the book is all about the separate lives of all of these characters. There's little action yet I still found myself reading away, eager to know which stupid thing would happen next. All of the major action begins when all of the characters leave, en masse, for Italy. You could say it was convenient they all, near enough, ended up in the same place but it all made perfect sense when we learnt why they were all there. As I mentioned above, Darcy and Belle barely lock horns, and I think the synopsis on the back of the book wildly exaggerated that fact.

Beautiful People is well worth reading, and I found it hugely enjoyable, and I know I'll definitely be looking out for more books by Wendy Holden. Her take on the celebrity lifestyle is refreshing and it's hugely exaggerated but it's also hilarious and enjoyable. It's as if she's taken all of the recent celebrity headlines - ie. adopting a child from Africa - and has put them all together into one huge melting pot of a novel and let the chips fall where they may. Very clever and I truly recommend it.
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