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Belle Epoque

By: Elizabeth Ross


The novel is set in the Belle Époque period in Paris, France; a forty year span of peace and prosperity. It is in this setting that Maude Pinchon, a girl from the French countryside, flees to Paris and unknowingly applies for a job as a beauty foil.  Her job, as a plain, unattractive girl, is to make her client, the daughter of the Countess Durbern, look beautiful in comparison.  Isabelle has no idea that Maude is the hired help, and Maude doesn’t count on forming a friendship with Isabelle.  Maude’s livelihood depends on her playing the part, but when Isabelle decides to marry an unfaithful brute, Maude risks everything for her friend.  As the deception unfolds, Maude, her boyfriend, and other girls in the agency work together to bring light to the practice of hiring a repoussoir, or foil, for wealthy socialites.

Prepared by Susan Geye, Director of Library Services, Everman ISD