BOOK REVIEW: Beauty by Louise Mensch

Those familiar with bestselling author Louise Bagshawe may already know that this is the pen name of MP and Unfashionista blogger Louise Mensch. Beauty is Louise's latest novel, penned under her real name. Having only read one of Louise's previous books, I wasn't sure what to expect, but Beauty did not disappoint. At all.

Dina Kane is a natural beauty. She didn't ask to be so beautiful, nor did her mother particularly ask for a  daughter - after all, being graced with their son Johnny, the Kanes could hardly afford to raise another child. Being so the blatantly second best Kane sibling doesn't seem to bother Dina given that beloved Johnny is practically her only friend, and the only one to show her affection - her mother's disdain is always evident. Intelligent, ambitious and gorgeous Dina has her heart set on going to college, but there are only funds for one child's tuition - Johnny's. And when their father dies, leaving their grieving mother alone and on the start of a downward spiral, Dina quickly realises that whatever she wants in life, she'll have to work hard to get.

And life is only just beginning.

Dina's determined to get to the top, and with an aim to save fund for college, leaves her hometown for the city, renting a tiny, grubby apartment and getting a job as a coffee-shop waitress. Very soon, her once undesirable living space has been transformed due to her knowledge and flair, and the job is proving a success - helped partly by the fact Dina's natural beauty can charm customers in an instant - though her life is about to change when Edward Johnson walks through the door.

Rich, arrogant and self-assured, Edward and his friends place a bet amongst themselves that he can bed the coffee-shop waitress. Despite Dina's high-achieving nature in business, she's still naive and weary about men. So Edward makes it his mission to fool Dina - and when he does, leaving Dina upset and humiliated, she vows to get him back.

When Edward's life is left in tatters due to Dina’s successful attempt at revenge, Edward Johnson starts to plot his own.

Dina Kane is going to be sorry. But he needs to catch her first…and with Dina’s know-how, having left the coffee shop and moved onto bigger and better career opportunities, there’s no stopping her. Dina Kane is working towards a life she'd dreamed of; properties, money and a career in the beauty industry. But with Edward lurking in the background, intent on ruining everything she loves, it’s only a matter of time before things come crashing down…

My verdict? I loved Beauty, and struggled to stop reading. I could go on for quite some time about the events in this novel but to do so would spoil it. Beauty is a gripping, scandalous tale of ambition and revenge, with a fast-paced plot that makes this book so hard to put down. Despite not inititally taking to Dina Kane's coldness and her high-achieving ways, I grew to like her quite early on, and couldn't wait to see what her next move would be.

Rating: 5/5

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