Beautiful People

( 16 )


"When she's good, she's very, very good, and Beautiful People finds Holden on steroids. Unmissable."
-Daily Mirror

A witty, utterly addictive novel from bestselling author Wendy Holden, Beautiful People is a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: an irresistible confection you'll want to devour immediately.

Darcy-a struggling English rose actress when The ...

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"When she's good, she's very, very good, and Beautiful People finds Holden on steroids. Unmissable."
-Daily Mirror

A witty, utterly addictive novel from bestselling author Wendy Holden, Beautiful People is a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: an irresistible confection you'll want to devour immediately.

Darcy-a struggling English rose actress when The Call comes from L.A. An Oscar-tastic director. A movie to make her famous. The hunkiest costar in Hollywood. So why doesn't she want to go?

Belle-a size-zero film star but she's in big, fat trouble. Hotter than the earth's core a year ago, she's now Tinseltown toast after her last film bombed. Can she get back to the big time?

Emma-a down-to-earth, down-on-her-luck nanny trying to weather London's cutthroat childcare scene and celebrity mom whirlwinds. What will it take for her to get back in control of her own life?

Jet to London, Hollywood, and Italy; toss in a passionate star chef, a kindhearted paparazzo, and a reluctant male supermodel; and find Wendy Holden at her best-a smash international hit.

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Editorial Reviews

With clever dialogue and a great spectrum of personalities, Holden's big book of celebrity obsession and the price of beauty is fast-paced, realistic, and hugely entertaining.
— Hilary Hatton
You can tell that this is a Wendy Holden book - the characters are well drawn out and are fun to read - and the book is still loaded with great "chick lit" moments.
— Tina
Book Hounds
Pure frothy fun! If you enjoy Sophie Kinsella or Helen Fielding, you will love this author.
— Mary
The Cajun Book Lady
You'll be sitting there rooting for the underdogs and racing to the end.
— Kris
Red Headed Book Child
A fun sparkling jet set read!
— Michelle
Thoughts From and Evil Overlord
My goodness, does that Wendy Holden make me laugh or what! I gobbled up Beautiful People.
— Elizabeth Bogardus
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Holden's wit is rapier sharp and her keen sense of observation of the comedic is spot on.
— Kaye
I Heart Book Gossip
Simply Divine... Beautiful People is the next Lipstick Jungle!
— Cindy
A funny, entertaining novel that will keep you turning the pages... you are in for a great escape.
— Joan Burton
Bellas Novella
Light, frothy, and frenetic, this book was a fun read.
— Ashley
Mrs. Q Book Addict
A fun, witty, story about the trials and tribulations of the acting industry.
Best Romance Stories
Fascinating... this novel has a story to tell for every reader.
— Chanya Harris
Steph the Bookworm
It was fun to root for the good guys and wish terrible things on the bad and to see how the author tied all their stories together.
— Steph
Alison's Bookmarks
It is satisfying to finally read a book where the good people are rewarded and the ugly people are given their just deserts.
— Alsion
Apprentice Writer
Holden's novels are great fun, and this one is no exception.
— Maya Missani
In the Hammock
The perfect scandalous guilty pleasure.
— Carrie
Coffee Time Romance
An entertaining look at how life can chew us up and spit us out and yet, at the same time, we learn so much more of ourselves in the process.
— Matilda
Library Journal
“Holden's satirical humor and adept writing shine through. Glitzy fun with appeal for readers of Emma McLaughlin, Plum Sykes, or Lauren Weisberger.”
— Lisa Davis-Craig
Publishers Weekly
Holden's pretty-on-the-outside people either see the light or get what's coming in this skewering of the bratty class. The best-selling Brit author (Bad Heir Day) holds up a mirror to preening and pampered actors, and to the predatory PR nabobs and agents who mold and market them. Under Holden's steely gaze are Belle, a plastic surgery poster girl whose star is on the wane and who will do whatever it takes to crawl back on top (including adopting an African orphan), and Darcy, a serious London actress who lets herself be lured into the lead of a Hollywood blockbuster, finding that she neither likes the moviemaking grind nor fits into the vacuous industry mold. These two polar opposites briefly share a destiny, discarded lovers, and the need to fit into a size zero while battling glitzy evil. It's a wearying and overlong fight, but there are ringside moments that nail the wispy nature of celebrity and the futility of chasing it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
British author Holden (Filthy Rich) deftly weaves several plotlines to an ending in rustic Italy, where Galaxia, a blockbuster Star Wars knockoff, is shooting. Darcy Prince, a serious London theater actor, is tapped as the next Hollywood It Girl but questions the system as she is forced on a crash diet. From L.A., with a stop in London to polish her tarnished image, comes almost-washed-up star Belle Murphy. Belle's slimy but gorgeous ex, Christian Harlow, is cast in the film and also casts a spell on Darcy. Emma, Belle's nanny for her adopted African baby, has her own story, bringing several more British families onto the scene. Business and love affairs quickly rise and fall. A touch of scandal is complemented by a drop of sweetness as the good triumph and the evil, or simply shallow, lose. VERDICT The mass of characters would be annoying in less competent hands, but Holden's satirical humor and adept writing shine through. Glitzy fun with appeal for readers of Emma McLaughlin, Plum Sykes, or Lauren Weisberger.—Lisa Davis-Craig, Canton P.L., MI
Kirkus Reviews
This British cupcake of a novel throws a wholesome nanny into the terrifying world of Hollywood agents, actors and hastily adopted African babies. Holden, author of a number of light farces (The School for Husbands, 2007, etc.), assembles a large cast of, if not quite characters, at least punch lines, that gather in a slapstick climax under the Tuscan sun. Hollywood agent Mitch Masterson has convinced client Darcy Prince, scion of a venerable British acting family, to audition for Jack Saint's latest sci-fi epic Galaxia. While Darcy's star is on the rise, his other A-lister Belle Murphy, likened to a stick figure with balloons, is spiraling out of control. Teetering on stilettos with a growling Chihuahua tucked under her arm, Belle has been sent to London to revive her career by doing Shakespeare (and for good measure she's adopted an African baby she's named Morning). Enter Emma, a lovely, responsible young nanny-who has just been sacked from her last post when the scheming aristo-nanny Totty de Belvedere sneaks cocaine into Emma's bag-whom Belle hires to do . . . absolutely everything. As plots would have it, everyone ends up in the Tuscan countryside-Darcy, Belle and gold-chained heartthrob Christian Harlow, to film Galaxia; Emma to care for Morning; Totty in care of the children she usurped from Emma; a paparazzi fed up with celebrities; and the Fitzmaurice family: father, an MP with a strangely randy constituency, mother, a batty social climber, and young son Orlando, who has had significant flirtations with Emma. Sex is on many a mind, but Darcy, the world's only carb-consuming actress, would prefer a leisurely meal at hunky Marco's hilltop restaurant, where the cheese is fresh, thebread crunchy and olive oil is drizzled over everything. She's beginning to think the simple life of food and love is just what she's after. In a smash-up finale of epic complications, all is happily resolved. If Holden's novel lacks a bit of depth, it is redeemed by the contagious pleasure had in skewering Hollywood hotties and coke-snorting aristocrats.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402237157
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 695,102
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Holden (UK) was a journalist on the Sunday Times, Tatler, and The Mail on Sunday before becoming a full time author. She has now published nine novels, all top 10 bestsellers in the UK. Her novels include Beautiful People, Farm Fatale, Simply Divine, Gossip Hound, The Wives of Bath, The School for Husbands, Azur Like it, and Filthy Rich.
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Read an Excerpt

Sam Sherman, head of the Wild Modelling Agency, strode through Covent Garden. She was on her way to a lunch appointment with Jack Oeuf, an arrogant but indisputably rising French photographer. She walked quickly. Oeuf was famously no fan of waiting. No photographer was. Unless people were waiting for them, which was, of course, a different matter.

Sam did not particularly look like a fashion person. As she saw it, that crazy, spiky, shiny, short stuff was best left to those younger and more in fashion's shop window than she was. The models. The designers. The stylists. The muses.

Sam's style was muted: middle of, rather than ahead of, the curve. She was curvy too, as well as small, which was why her own modeling career had literally been cut short. In addition, her face, with its round eyes, full cheeks, and rather prominent teeth, had a suggestion of the hamster about it, although there was nothing of the small, amenable pet about her business acumen. This was formidable and frequently ruthless. Combined with this was Sam's sure eye for a new face and her confidence and accuracy in predicting trends. As a result, Wild was one of the biggest and most successful model agencies in London.

Sam, who had been a teenager in the seventies, generally stuck to a classic rock 'n' roll look of white shirt teamed with black waistcoat and jeans. Today her jeans were tucked into high wedge-heeled boots of sand-coloured suede, rendered vaguely Native American with the addition of coloured beads. Her beige woollen wrap with its fringed edge billowed about her as she walked, and the bracelets that filled the bottom half of each of her forearms rattled.

Sam walked everywhere. This was not because she was fond of exercise-she wasn't. And there was certainly nothing pleasureable about picking one's way along the uptilted pavements of Endell Street and wincing at the deafening noise of the various drilling gangs engaged in the refurbishments this part of London constantly underwent. Sam walked because it made good business sense. It was more difficult to spot talent from the back of a taxi and more difficult to get out and run after it if one did.

And spot it she must. Modeling was a competitive business. The Wild agency might be one of London's biggest and most successful, but new agencies were always snapping at her heels, competing for the best girls and boys. Wild needed a constant stream of new talent. As Sam walked, her round, hamsterish, hazel eyes, ringed firmly with kohl, swivelled from side to side between centre-parted curtains of heavily highlighted shoulder-length beige hair. As ever, she was on the lookout.

Sam crossed Long Acre and walked purposefully down Bow Street, past where the vast bulk of the Royal Opera House blazed white against the blue sky. In the narrow shadows of Floral Street, a skinny girl with a graceful carriage caught her attention, one of the ballerinas, Sam assumed. Well, she had a good figure, but oh, dear God, that, no, no.

She entered the road where the Tube station was. But there was nothing promising among the crowds either outside it or drifting aimlessly across the cobbled marketplace among the face-painters, cartoonists, bracelet-weavers, jugglers, buskers, human statues, and all the other theatrically inclined losers who daily congregated here. No, the beautiful people really weren't out this morning. Sam found herself positively wincing at the unsightliness and dinginess of those she walked among. Everyone looked the same: acne, terrible hair, short, thick legs in stonewashed jeans, white trainers, and nasty black windbreakers. Tourists, without a doubt, many gathered in an awestruck, giggling, and mobile-phone-snapping ring round a street entertainer. Sam paused to watch the Afro-Caribbean man limboing under a stick placed on top of two wine bottles. His physique was good, but his features were all over the place.

Which, of course, in some cases could work or could be fixed. Some things could be fixed: teeth, hair colour, skin problems. Weight, especially, could be fixed; not that one was allowed to say that these days, with all the fuss over Size Zero. But behind the scenes, a model's life went on as before. The drugs, the self-denial, the workouts, the worry. Nothing had changed. That could not be fixed.

The early summer sunshine continued to beat cheerfully down, but Sam, behind her sunglasses, hardly noticed the way it polished the cobbles, warmed the butterscotch stone of the eighteenth-century market buildings, and made the great white pillars of the Royal Opera House gleam. That was not the sort of beauty she either noticed or cared about. One could hardly give it a business card, ask it to come in for test shots, and subsequently launch it as the face of the moment. One could not make money from it.

A few lanky, blank-looking British girls were swishing their hair and dawdling self-consciously along in tight, low-waisted jeans and skimpy tops. But none of them looked like the next Lily Cole. God. The lunch. Jack Oeuf. Sam glanced at her special-edition Cartier Tank watch and saw that she needed to get a move on if she was going to reach the restaurant on time.

"Ow!" Sam's progress was now halted in the rudest and most uncomfortable of manners. A great physical blow to the front of her lower pelvis stopped her agonisingly in her tracks. Reeling with the suddenness, eyes watering with the pain, she realised she had walked straight into a bollard. She gripped the metal post tightly with her silver-tipped fingers and breathed in hard.

"Are you, um, alright?"

Sam, red-faced and agonised, glanced crossly at the person who had materialised beside her. He was very tall, his face hidden beneath tangled, dark blond hair.

"I'm fine, thanks," she managed tersely. She had no desire to discuss the damage to her intimate regions with some unknown, callow youth.

The untidy blond head nodded. He now pushed his hair back to expose his face and, instead of the zitty and misshapen bunch of teenage features she had been expecting, Sam found herself looking at one of the handsomest boys she had ever seen.

He was about eighteen, Sam reckoned, and with all that delicious boyhood-ripening-to-manhood quality: smoulderingly sexy with those narrow eyes, those huge lips, that big Adam's apple. And yet still innocent with that smooth skin, that touch of fresh pink on his cheekbones, that endearingly puzzled expression...

"Look, are you sure you're okay?" the boy asked, unnerved by the way she was staring at him.

Sam nodded. She was more than okay. She was revelling in this boy, feasting on his looks. There was a golden glow about him, of classical gods, of mediaeval angels, of youthful Monaco male royals with big pink lips and blond hair blowing in the Mediterranean breeze. And more than that, of Armani campaigns, Ralph Lauren, Chanel-oh they'd love him. Who wouldn't? And that voice; it had that just-broken quality of being deep and squeaky at the same time. Better still, it was posh, which the French and Italian designers especially loved. They'd got into that whole English public schoolboy thing in the eighties, and they'd never got out of it since.

Her eyes scoured his body: amazingly tall, broad-shouldered but slender. Long legs and arms; nice hands. Pale; a quick blast in the spray-tan would do him no harm at all. But otherwise he could well be the discovery of the century. Compared to what he could mean to the agency, earn for the agency, banging into a bollard was a small price to pay.

"I'm a scout," she smiled at him.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2010

    Good fun, fast read

    I bought this book in an airport last year and it was a perfect traveling book. Easy to pick up and put down, but kept me wanting to go back to it. It's surprising how long it has taken this British book to get released in the States, but I can't wait for her next one... may have to go to Europe to get it sooner!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Chick Lit with an almost Fitzgerald twist......

    This book reminded me as a chick lit fun version of Fitzgerald's the Great Gatsby - so Fitzgerald meets Kinsella or Alt:) You have the exaggerated beautiful people, who really are not (Belle and Christian, shallow hollywood hotties) - the the noble characters who are truly beautiful (Emma, Belle's nanny, Marco the Romantic chef), a few who get carried away in their attempt to figure out where they belong (Darcy, the artistic actor, Mitch her weak willed agent, etc). All get what the deserve, and in that way it is pretty predictable. The writing is a little jumpy in that one paragraph you have one person's voice and in the next it is someone else in another setting. But a sweet fast paced book, sweet romance, only a little description of sex (thank G-d), and the happy ending.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013



    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Good read

    At first it was a little difficult keeping the people separate, but as you get farther in, you see how they start to intertwine. Always wanted to keep reading to find out how they would be connected yet again. Great read. Reminded me a little of Love, Actually.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Way too long

    The story had so much potential but the author just dragged it on and on. Superficial plots like this require quirky writing, funny, outrageous events and a good connection of characters. The book could have been about 100 pages shorter by leaving out all the extensive descriptions and cutting out a few characters like the model agency scout and the head of the network guy. I couldn't help but think of it as a jill mansell wanna be but no where near as good as mansell's.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2013


    This book is stupid and sucks my boyfriend saw mereading it and felt bad for me because i had to read this freakin book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Ppl i rp

    Foldar, Rama, Sun, Iron man, Cap America, Billy Batson, Captain Marvel, Forge, Purple Man, Flare, Harry

    0 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

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    Posted October 9, 2013

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    Posted December 11, 2011

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    Posted July 10, 2011

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    Posted April 14, 2013

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    Posted May 11, 2010

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    Posted January 7, 2012

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