Fancy Pants

Fancy Pants

3.7 120
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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She was the most beautiful British bauble in Europe's jet-set playgrounds. Now she's broke, furious, and limping down a backwoods road in an ugly pink Southern Belle gown...

He was tall, lean and All-American gorgeous. He liked his brews cold and women loved to keep him warm. Why in hell is he stopping his car for this woebegone, surly Scarlett?

Meet Francesca

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She was the most beautiful British bauble in Europe's jet-set playgrounds. Now she's broke, furious, and limping down a backwoods road in an ugly pink Southern Belle gown...

He was tall, lean and All-American gorgeous. He liked his brews cold and women loved to keep him warm. Why in hell is he stopping his car for this woebegone, surly Scarlett?

Meet Francesca Day and Dallie Beaudine, two incredible characters whose tangled love affair is one of the most ravishing, satisfying, irresistible novels you'll ever read. From the glamour and excitement of London and New York to the dust and down-home grit of Texas, come enjoy the adventure of a lifetime--a wonderfully involving story that's heart-wrenching, hilarious and hellcat passionate--and as full of surprises as life itself. You'll never forget Dallie and the sassy lady who needs a good swift kick in her...fancy pants

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
LaVyrle Spencer Refreshingly original, witty and touching.

Elizabeth Lowell What the world needs is more books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Publishers Weekly This delectable confection offers unadulterated entertainment. Sleek romantic comedy.

Product Details

Pocket Books
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Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.74(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

When Francesca was first placed in her mother's arms, Chloe Serritella Day burst into tears and insisted that the sisters at the private London hospital where she had given birth had lost her baby. Any imbecile could see that this ugly little creature with its mashed head and swollen eyelids could not possibly have come from her own exquisite body.

Since no husband was present to comfort the hysterical Chloe, it was left to the sisters to assure her that most newborns weren't at their best for several days. Chloe ordered them to take away the ugly little imposter and not come back until they had found her own dear baby. She then reapplied her makeup and greeted her visitors -- among them a French film star, the secretary of the British Home Office, and Salvador Dali -- with a tearful account of the terrible tragedy that had been perpetrated upon her. The visitors, long accustomed to the beautiful Chloe's dramatics, merely patted her hand and promised to look into the matter. Dali, in a burst of magnanimity, announced he would paint a surrealistic version of the infant in question as a christening gift, but mercifully lost interest in the project and sent a set of vermeil goblets instead.

A week passed. On the day she was to be released from the hospital, the sisters helped Chloe dress in a loose-fitting black Balmain sheath with a wide organdy collar and cuffs. Afterward, they guided her into a wheelchair and deposited the rejected infant in her arms. The intervening time had done little to improve the baby's appearance, but in the moment she gazed down at the bundle in her arms, Chloe experienced one of her lightning-swift moodchanges. Peering into the mottled face, she announced to one and all that the third generation of Serritella beauty was now assured. No one had the bad manners to disagree, which, as it turned out, was just as well, for within a matter of months, Chloe had been proved correct.

Chloe's sensitivity on the subject of female beauty had its roots in her own childhood. As a girl she had been plump, with an extra fold of fat squaring off her waist and small fleshy pads obscuring the delicate bones of her face. She was not heavy enough to be considered obese in the eyes of the world, but was merely plump enough to feel ugly inside, especially in comparison to her sleek and stylish mother, the great Italian-born couturiere, Nita Serritella. It was not until 1947, the summer when Chloe was twelve years old, that anyone told her she was beautiful.

Home on a brief holiday from one of the Swiss boarding schools where she spent too much of her childhood, she was sitting as inconspicuously as possible with her full hips perched on a gilt chair in the corner of her mother's elegant salon on the rue de la Paix. She watched with both resentment and envy as Nita, pencil slim in a severely cut black suit with oversize raspberry satin lapels, conferred with an elegantly dressed customer. Her mother wore her blue-black hair cut short and straight, so that it fell forward over the pale skin of her left cheek in a great comma-shaped curl, and her Modigliani neck supported ropes of perfectly matched black pearls. The pearls, along with the contents of a small wall safe in her bedroom, were gifts from Nita's admirers, internationally prosperous men who were only too happy to buy jewels for a woman successful enough to buy her own. One of those men had been Chloe's father, although Nita professed not to remember which one, and she had certainly never for a moment considered marrying him.

The attractive blonde who was receiving Nita's attention in the salon that afternoon spoke Spanish, her accent surprisingly common for one who held so much of the world's attention that particular summer of 1947. Chloe followed the conversation with half her attention and devoted the other half to studying the reed-thin mannequins who were parading through the center of the salon modeling Nita's latest designs. Why couldn't she be thin and self-assured like those mannequins? Chloe wondered. Why couldn't she look exactly like her mother, especially since they had the same black hair, the same green eyes? If only she were beautiful, Chloe thought, maybe her mother would stop looking at her with such disgust. For the hundredth time she resolved to give up pastries so that she could win her mother's approval -- and for the hundredth time, she felt that uncomfortable sinking sensation in her stomach that told her she didn't have the willpower. Next to Nita's all-consuming strength of purpose, Chloe felt like a swans-down powder puff.

The blonde suddenly looked up from a drawing she had been studying and, without warning, let her liquid brown eyes come to rest on Chloe. In her curiously harsh Spanish, she remarked, "That little one will be a great beauty someday. She looks very much like you."

Nita glanced over at Chloe with ill-concealed disdain. "I see no resemblance at all, señora. And she will never be a beauty until she learns to push away her fork."

Nita's customer lifted a hand weighted down with several garish rings and gestured toward Chloe. "Come over here, querida. Come give Evita a kiss."

For a moment Chloe didn't move as she tried to absorb what the woman had said. Then she rose hesitantly from her chair and crossed the salon, embarrassingly aware of the pudgy calves showing beneath the hem of her cotton summer skirt. When she reached the woman, she leaned down and deposited a self-conscious but nonetheless grateful kiss on the softly fragrant cheek of Eva Perón.

"Fascist bitch!" Nita Serritella hissed later, as the First Lady of Argentina departed through the salon's front doors. She slipped an ebony cigarette holder between her lips only to withdraw it abruptly, leaving a scarlet smear on the end. "It makes my flesh crawl to touch her! Everyone knows there wasn't a Nazi in Europe who couldn't find shelter with Perón and his cronies in Argentina."

The memories of the German occupation of Paris were still fresh in Nita's mind, and she held nothing but contempt for Nazi sympathizers. Still, she was a practical woman, and Chloe knew that her mother saw no sense in sending Eva Perón's money, no matter how ill-gained, from the rue de la Paix to the avenue Montaigne, where the house of Dior reigned supreme.

After that, Chloe clipped photographs of Eva Perón from the newspapers and pasted them in a scrapbook with a red cover. Whenever Nita's criticisms became especially biting, Chloe looked at the pictures, leaving an occasional chocolate smudge on the pages as she remembered how Eva Perón had said she would be a great beauty someday.

The winter she was fourteen her fat miraculously disappeared along with her sweet tooth, and the legendary Serritella bones were finally brought into definition. She began spending hours gazing into the mirror, entranced by the reed-slim image before her. Now, she told herself, everything would be different. For as long as she could remember, she had felt like an outcast at school, but suddenly she found herself part of the inner circle. She didn't understand that the other girls were more attracted to her newfound air of self-confidence than to her twenty-two-inch waist. For Chloe Serritella, beauty meant acceptance.

Nita seemed pleased with her weight loss, so when Chloe went home to Paris for her summer holiday, she found the courage to show her mother sketches of some dresses she'd designed with the hope of someday becoming a couturiere herself. Nita laid out the sketches on her worktable, lit a cigarette, and dissected each one with the critical eye that had made her a great designer.

"This line is ridiculous. And the proportion is all wrong here. See how you ruined this one with too much detail? Where is your eye, Chloe? Where is your eye?"

Chloe snatched the sketches from the table

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What People are saying about this

Elizabeth Lowell
What the world needs is more books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
LaVyrle Spencer
Refreshingly original, witty and touching.

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Fancy Pants 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the immortal words of those guys from In Living Color...haaated it! The author is a talented writer, I'll give her that. But 500+ pages of characters that are deeply and truly terrible people? "But they chaaaaange" is the whiney undercurrent of the book. Into what? Into older jerks? Francine was a spoiled brat who turned into a bad mother, surrounding herself with a tiny group of emotionally stunted enablers, only to use them all for professional gain and free babysitting? And Dallas (eff that Dallie sh* grown man is going to voluntarily adopt a nickname that, in verb form, means "to tickle your pickle"), who was a self-proclaimed man-wh*re but too much of a chicken sh*t to divorce his trailer park queen. Did anyone else get REALLY tired of the surley, misunderstood man routine? Let's not forget that the second Francine saw her former lover's ding-a-ling, she seemed to forget she had a child. My baby's sad because his biological father is being an utter pr*ck? Oh, he'll get over it. He's smart, after all! Have I mentioned his IQ? Wait three pages. It'll come up again, I promise. The kid is missing amongst hundreds of strangers on an island? Pssh, that means I can sneak off for a few seconds alone with the sperm donor! Anyone want my copy? It's free, but still dripping with my disdain
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I love how Phillips make you feel butterflies as if you were one of the characters in the book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was awesome! It was hilariously funny, sexy, and fun. The world simply fell apart for Francie, whom I will admit is hard to like in the beginning, but you'll LOVE her by the end. It's just plain wonderful...I couldn't stop smiling when I finished.
Romance_rookie More than 1 year ago
Fancy Pants is the first book in Susan Elizabeth Phillips Texas Wynette series. It tells the story of Francesca Serritella Day, an English socialite heiress who ends up penniless in the Southern United States with only the clothes on her back. It is a tale of a spoiled, self-absorbed woman who at the lowest point of her life faces self discovery to become one of the best journalists television has ever seen. Along the way Francesca meets Dallie Beaudine, a golf pro who seems to be the one man immune to Francesca's charms. Wow! What can I say about this book? First of all, if you haven't read a book by the famous SEP, what are you waiting for? Ms. Phillips pens an incredible story. Now, granted this is not my favorite by her, but hot DAMN, what a story! The book starts out a little slow because it sets up Francesca's childhood and even goes into the details of her conception. Really, though it is all still quite entertaining, it's just that I know romance readers and they will want the author to get to the main romance right away. Be patient and you will be rewarded. Don't worry though, once Francesca and Dallie meet - BAM it is like fire and ice. If you like polar opposites attracting then these two characters are right up your alley. Like cats and dogs these to fight with each other and their first encounter is especially memorable. I give Ms. Phillips and A+ for originality. That is for sure. Now, this story is a little dated. It takes place in the eighties and some of the male perspective is definitely old fashioned. But these two characters are such strong personalities and the story is so entertaining I let a lot of the character's flaws go by the wayside. One thing that I really enjoyed about the story is that the characters GROW throughout the story. They are not perfect and because the story spans 15+ years Dallie and Francesca have time to learn from their mistakes. I really enjoyed this one. I wouldn't recommend this particular story to introduce people to SEP, but for those of you who have read her and liked her will want to read this one too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read many of Phillip's books and this one was not her greatest. I found myself skipping almost half the book. The heroin was snoby and the ending left my slightly dissatisfied. Overall it wasn't my favorite of all her books, but because all her other books are unsurpassable, I gave her a second chance. Read this book anyway, but make sure you read one of her better ones first so you don't draw inaccurate conclusions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe I started out wrong, by reading Susan's newer titles first, but I had an extremely tough time with this one. I kept reading, because I was sure it just HAD to get better-not so. Francesca was the most irritating heroine, and trying to keep the ever-increasing number of characters straight became tiresome.
Anonymous 28 days ago
This isn't a typical romance novel, that you read on a Saturday afternoon. It's characters take time to set-up. The setting takes us back to the 1970's through the 1980's, and even earlier for back story. If you need a quick read to hold your attention this isn't a book for you. If you like a book you can sink into, then this is the book for you. SEP has created a great cast of characters and it makes me want to jump in my car and find Wynette Texas!
feather_lashes 10 months ago
Fancy Pants is the first installment in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's adult contemporary romance series titled: Wynette, Texas. After completely devouring her AMAZING Chicago Stars series, I was so excited to see she had another whole series available that I haven't even touched yet. Whoop Whoop! The Wynette, Texas series is some of Ms. Phillips' earlier work and if Fancy Pants is any indication, she has since perfected her signature writing style. I did like it, but it's just not the fun, laugh-out-loud writing I have come to love. The romance was sexy, even though the love/hate banter was pretty extreme (on the hate side), and there is an admirable message portrayed through the female lead: Francesca “Fancy Pants” Day. No matter our looks, family wealth, or social status, there will come a time when those things will no longer serve us and we will have to make our own way. This provided some substance to the overall story and allowed a prideful, entitled, and unlikable ex-socialite to slowly become a relatable and cared for character. Although I didn't love this book, I definitely responded to it and would still recommend it. Check it out! My favorite quote: "When people raved about her sage green eyes, her delicate cheekbones, and gleaming chestnut hair, Francesca found herself withdrawing from them. Painful experience had taught her that being born with a face like hers was more of a liability than an asset. Strength of character came from hard work, not smoky-thick eyelashes. Clothes however were another matter."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It's start off a bit slow in the beginning, but I felt like I really got to know the characters which I have to say doesn't happen too much in most romance novels. They seem to be over in just over 200 pages. I have been reading a number of books by this author and have really enjoyed them. Based on the some of the other reviews, I guess she doesn't work for everyone, but she works for me! I can name quite a number of other romance authors and novels who don't come even close.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this in high school when it first came out and jusr reread it. Loved it! Dallie's attitudes may seem a bit dated (as well as the fashion) but remember this book was published in 1989.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not get into this story. How can a rich girl like her not find one person from her circuit? Just did'nt make sense. And Dallie was looking worse and worse. I love this author, read many books she wrote. This one got on my nerves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me the story jumped around too much and couldn't hold my attention. I've loved all her other books i've read.
Silverleaf More than 1 year ago
  Just Awful - I borrowed the book not worth the time I tried to read it. I'd rather have all my teeth pulled that's how painful it was:-(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Susan Elizabeth is one of my favorite authur....but not entirely with this book. It took till page 100 0r so for Francesca and Dallie to finally meet. I didn't really get interested in this book till well over page 200. The ending was beautiful but way to many details between beginning til end that was not needed. Was not a total dissapointment but still I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was going to be just another modern day contemperary romance. WRONG! First of all it is set around the 70's and 80's. It starts off a little odd, but it turns into something amazing. Stick with it, you won't be dissappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this and two other Phillips books and threw them all out. They were terrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting read for my chick lit reading group, because it was published in 1989. The first part takes place in the 1970's, the second part in the 1980's. So, from this perspective - the characters and the environment are a little dated; from another perspective, it's like taking a time capsule voyage back to those years. It's very weird to read about pro golfing without any mention of Tiger Woods. The heroine is SO bratty and unlikeable in the beginning I was tempted to put the book down (okay, I was tempted to throw it across the room, but it's a library book, so I reined myself in). Francesca actually undergoes such a sea change after winding up in the middle of nowhere, with the clothes on her back, preggers, and with a quarter in her pocket, that I was able to root for her after all. There are things in this books that wouldn't "work" in today's market. A hero, (technically) married to another woman? Over all, I liked it, and I found it especially interesting as a look back in time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come on now. Almost a hundred pages of prep before the characters even meet? And I can't get into characters that have no redeeming qualities. Maybe some people can swallow the premise that two totally egocentric, narcisistic people can change their stripes but not me. Very disappointing work for an author I normally love. I guess everyone's allowed a clinker now and then and this is sure Susan's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the characters in this book. They felt so real and after finishing the book I miss them. That being said, i am not super fond of the way the book os written. I skimmed over a llot of the beginning... too much back story for me. Not to mention that you don't get to know them as a couple when they see eachother 9 years later. It left me wanting soooooooo muchmore than I got. I did love the ending. I cried but, like Glitter Baby, i thought it could have been so much more to the love story. SEP is one of my favorite authors, so if you haven't read her yer... DO IT! But chose one of her Chicago Stars or the other Whynett Texas books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago