Author(s): Louise Levene
Jane James knows that she must have been born to better things than a dingy bedroom in her Aunt Doreen's house in Norbury and evenings spent eating gala pie and Heinz tinned potato salad in their 'sitting-cum-dining room'. So, armed with her well-thumbed copy of Lady Be Good, she practises her French turns, her killer smile and precisely how much thigh to show when crossing her legs, and dreams of a time when she can be a part of the world she glimpses through the Mayfair windows of the cashmere shop where she works. When she finds a crocodile handbag left in a pub, it leads her to Suzy St John, a girl-about-town with the glamour, the confidence and the irresistible allure that Jane has been practising for so long. Suzy takes Jane under her wing, and Jane becomes Janey, a near carbon-copy of her new best friend and a delighted adventurer in an easy, sleazy, sixties West-End world of part-time modelling and full-time man-trapping. Her new, improved self catwalks confidently through nightclubs, rag trade showrooms and luxury Mayfair flats but Jane finds that she can never quite drown out the carping voice of her past - or the nagging doubt that there might be slightly more to life than a mutation mink jacket or an engagement ring. When a shocking act of violence threatens to bring Jane's glittering new life crashing down around her she must call on all her powers of reinvention if her dyed-to-match stilettos are to carry her away unscathed.
A Vision of Loveliness is filled with wonderful period details and informed by the author's own experiences as a 'mannequin' in the fashion trade Longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize Will attract the interest of the literary reviewers but also the journalists in the 'Style' and 'Features' pages The author is the ballet critic of the Sunday Telegraph. She used to write and present Radio 4's Newstand, among other programmes, and is very well connected in the media
'I loved this book. It wonderfully evokes the essence of the 1960s' - Joan Collins 'dark comedy that reveals the seedy underbelly of London in the 1960s... A winning debut by Levene that's rich with period detail and packs a punch' - Marie Claire 'Biting social satire, drenched in extravagant shoes, jewellery and clothes' - Observer 'Louise Levine is a zesty storyteller and a master of the needle-sharp one-liner' - Daily Telegraph
Louise Levene is a journalist, academic and one-time saleslady. She is currently the ballet critic of the Sunday Telegraph, and used to write and present Radio 4's Newstand among other programmes. She lives in London. A Vision of Loveliness is her first novel.