What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Belle Epoque is a historical novel set in 1880s Paris about a young woman discovering her own self worth and pursuing her dreams. There's absolutely no violence and only two sweet kisses, making it OK for younger tweens who can handle the occasional scenes of excessive drinking, which is not glamorized. The message that beauty comes from within is one young women can't read too often.
What's the story?
Young Maude Pichon in desperation takes a job with an agency as a repoussoir, someone who makes another seem more beautiful in contrast to her own plainness. She struggles with the ethics of this while getting swept up the glamorous world of the Paris aristocracy in the 1880s. Genuine friendship grows with her client's daughter Isabelle, the one she's supposed to make look better, until Isabelle learns who Maude really is. Eventually the two are able to put an end to the agency and pursue their own dreams, free from the clutches of Isabelle's socially ambitious mother.
Is it any good?
BELLE EPOQUE is full of small historical details that will resonate with those who know a little about the Impressionist painters. But the details of daily life that might have given the novel broader appeal are glossed over. Still, the backdrop is interesting and unusual enough to enchant imaginative readers. Maude is easy to relate to, and her determination and struggles eventually lead the way to a contented life in which she can love and be loved while she pursues her dream of becoming a professional photographer.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what makes a person lovable. Do you think good looks make someone more lovable?
Does the historical setting make the existence of the agency maude works for more believable? Would it be believable if the story were set in today's world?
At the time it was built, a lot of people thought the Eiffel Tower was hideous. Can you imagine Paris without it now? Could anything symbolize the city so well?