Sunday, February 19, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Some Like it Haute by Julie K.L. Dam

Alex Simons is in Paris on a plum assignment, covering fashion week for London’s The Weekly. Her dreams have carried her far from her big-hair days in Texas, landing a career as a fashion correspondent on first name basis with all top fashion houses’ PR reps. A sudden cat-walk collision with this season’s It girl lands Alex in the midst of a media feeding-frenzy which has her cowering in her hotel watching reruns of the debacle on Fashion TV. When she ventures out to a promising fashion debut she meets Nick Snow, a bad boy who spurns the fashion world but sends Alex’s pulse into overdrive. Will this fashion insider get her bad boy and the scoop of the year?

This latest entry into the increasingly crowded genre of chick lit offers a breath of fresh air. Some Like it Haute has avoided many of the major minefields now infesting the genre: heroines stuck in their 20’s, overly whiny main characters and paper-thin plots. Julie Dam recognizes that the readers of chick lit have moved into their 30s and, while still concerned with fashion and romance, they also face serious worries about their careers. By moving her heroine into the next age category but leaving her single, the author has taken a courageous yet fresh approach.

Within the context of haute couture and Paris’ fashion week, Alex’s obsession with clothes and footwear makes sense. The insider’s view of this closed society is enthralling and since Alex’s clothes obsession isn’t overblown, she shows readers an insider’s view into this elite world.

One of Julie Dam’s main strengths is her ability to pen intelligent, rapid-fire banter: words delivered so fast that your head is spinning in admiration. Some Like it Haute contains some fabulous repartee between Nick and Alex, chock full of pop culture references and delivered with deadpan accuracy. Like the icons of old, the sexual tension leaps off the page as Nick and Alex play with words as easily as others toss dice.

More style than substance, this light-weight confection has readers kicking off their kitten heels and curling their toes in longing for the Manolos casually tossed around by Alex. Dam has provided a window into a world guaranteed to delight any wanna-be fashionista, a stylistic fable that marries mystery and romance and wraps it all in a glamorous world filled with killer shoes.

See the review as it appears at Armchair Interviews - Some Like it Haute.

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