Belle Époque


How did I get it?:
A present from my sister!


When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new “friend” is the hired help, and Maude’s very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.


I have been waiting to read this book for a while now, so I’m so glad I finally got around to picking it up. I’ve been impressed with Hot Key Books releases recently and Belle Époque is another little gem for them. It started off incredibly well and very engaging. It’s fast-paced and easy to read but unfortunately for me the pacing slowed down after halfway through and I didn’t find it as exciting. However, I still think it’s interesting book that’s well worth picking up to learn more about this Parisian time period.

Belle Époque focuses on our main character Maude Pichon. She’s run away to Paris, desperate for work and has found herself answering a very unusual advertisement. The agency is looking for ugly people to make beautiful people instantly more attractive! (Harsh!)  Countess Dubern needs a companion for her daughter Isabelle and Maude is the perfect (plain looking) fit. Isabelle has no idea that Maude has been hired for her. As the girls begin to develop a deeper friendship, Maude realises she has a lot to lose.

I was instantly gripped for the first 100 pages of Belle Époque. I thought it was so easy to read and I found it to be absolutely fascinating. I really liked Maude and Isabelle and wished that their friendship had been more genuine. I was gutted for them both when (inevitably, so not much of a spoiler…) Maude was found out. You’ll have to read it to see what happens after Isabelle finds out the truth though…

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

An interesting historical fiction read for Young Adults and beyond. The Parisian era that it focuses on is fascinating!

6 thoughts on “Belle Époque

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