Jane James knows that she must have been born to better things than a dingy bedroom in her Aunt Doreen's house in Norbury and evenings spent eating gala pie and Heinz tinned potato salad in their 'sitting-cum-dining room'. So, armed with her well-thumbed copy of Lady Be Good, she practises her French turns, her killer smile and precisely how much thigh to show when crossing her legs, and dreams of a time when she can be a part of the world she glimpses through the Mayfair windows of the cashmere shop where she works. When she finds a crocodile handbag left in a pub, it leads her to Suzy St John, a girl-about-town with the glamour, the confidence and the irresistible allure that Jane has been practising for so long. Suzy takes Jane under her wing, and Jane becomes Janey, a near carbon-copy of her new best friend and a delighted adventurer in an easy, sleazy, sixties West-End world of part-time modelling and full-time man-trapping. Her new, improved self catwalks confidently through nightclubs, rag trade showrooms and luxury Mayfair flats but Jane finds that she can never quite drown out the carping voice of her past - or the nagging doubt that there might be slightly more to life than a mutation mink jacket or an engagement ring. When a shocking act of violence threatens to bring Jane's glittering new life crashing down around her she must call on all her powers of reinvention if her dyed-to-match stilettos are to carry her away unscathed.
'Sparkly as a Babycham, dry as a Twiglet, and honest as a tinned pie - Janey James is the perfect hilarious, sexy, rude and clear-eyed guide to swinging London. I feel like I've been out on the tiles with her all night - and I'd happily do it all again' Helen Cross 'A delight - funny, sad and clever. For those of us who were young in the late fifties and early sixties, it's an uncanny evocation of our past. For today's young women, it will read like gender history - and I hope it makes their jaws drop' Barbara Trapido 'Hilarious... A dark social satire packed with detail that resonates powerfully with modern life' The Times 'Utterly compulsive ... every page, every paragraph, sucks one back into a period with intensity far greater than that experienced when one was actually there ... Indeed, this immensely readable book is so full of period atmosphere that reality actually pales when you put it down' Virginia Ironside, Independent
About Louise Levene
Louise Levene is a journalist, academic and one-time saleslady. She is currently the ballet critic of the Sunday Telegraph, and used to write and present Radio 4's Newstand among other programmes. She lives in London. A Vision of Loveliness is her first novel.
A Vision of Loveliness by Louise Levene
Used - Very Good
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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