Another impulse purchased that panned out! Elegance is two books in one. Our main character Louise picks up a 1940s dictionary called (duh) Elegance (an impulse buy for her as well) and it ends up changing her life.
This dictionary has A to Z chapters about various woman-related subjects, from sweater seats to make up to proper ettiquette. While rather dated and occasionally ridiculous (such as, the entire chapter on furs), Elegance the dictionary guides Louise into realizing how unhappy she is in her marriage (to a cold, possibly gay Englishman) and helps her find her true self through beauty tips and the like.
It sounds silly, but it really wasn’t. Louise was a likable, interesting protagonist, and she really develops and grows throughout the novel, while still making the occasionally stupid mistake. I really liked her and wished the book was longer when it ended. She reminded me of Bridget Jones, which is absolutely a compliment in my book.
“My husband claims I have an unhealthy obsession with secondhand bookshops. That I spend too much time daydreaming altogether. But either you intrinsically understand the attraction of searching for hidden treasure amongst rows of dusty shelves or you don’t; it’s a passion, bordering on a spiritual illness, which cannot be explained to the unaffected.”
I hear you, Louise.