I’ve been a fan of Louise Mensch nee Bagshawe’s books for a while, the first I read was “The Devil You Know” a twisty tale of three sisters who’d been far flung from each other but had to come together to fight for what is rightfully theirs. I liked it. I’ve read a few of her other books but one of my favourite remains Destiny, I’ve read a few times; its light, fun and gritty. A tale of hard work, gumption and a brassy broad. Why am I talking about Destiny when this should be about Beauty? Because Beauty read so much like a watered down version of Destiny. A bad version at that.
Dina, the main character, has had to fight her way through life, from the moment she was born, her mother didn’t much care for her, matter of fact her parents didn’t want her. But her mother was especially threatened by her daughter’s beauty, Dina was a reminder of all she wanted but couldn’t have, because she came around and threw a spanner in her works. Naturally, Dina grew up to become a woman bent on making something of herself. She scrapped and clawed her way up, throw in a really bad experience along the way, vengeance, and eventually success… trust me by chapter 3 you know where this book is headed. Not to forget her Knight in shining armour who comes to her rescue… its always the way with Mensch’s books, at least the last two books I’ve read.
But this one takes the cake.
There was absolutely zero chemistry between Joel, said Knight, and Dina, they felt like good friends than lovers. Where the story needed to matter, it felt rushed and schemed over, like the issue with Dina’s brother. Also, Edward’s story line was overly done, we didn’t need to see him at every turn in the book, he needed to be yanking the chains and then revealed to us in the end, he was more annoying than anything, and puh-leeze the pathetic way he was caught… really girl?
The story lacked a build up to the end, and the end fell flat, too predictable, too formulaic. It also, appears to be that the women in Mensch’s stories, at least in Destiny and now Beauty, even The Devil You Know and oh, Kept Woman, don’t have any real friendships or never set much store by it in a sense. The characters in Beauty lacked substance, they were cold, boring and predictable. As for the story, it left little to the imagination, we saw the end coming way before it happened and it was drawn out for such a shabby ending. I would’ve also loved to see a reconciliation between Dina and Hector, maybe forged a friendship there, something with her mother coming to terms with her daughter, after the death of her son… there was no meat to the bone, it was all a mess and I was expecting so much better from Mensch.
This formulae though, its time to give it a rest.