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House of Beauty

by Melba Escobar

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Crime / Mystery eBooks of the Month

LoveReading View on House of Beauty

Set in the author’s home city of Bogotá, Colombia, this absorbing, pacey women-centered novel has a brutal murder at its core, and offers sharply observed insights into corruption and double standards around class, gender and race, as seen through the eyes of two unforgettable female protagonists. Gripping, brutal, honest, insightful, this is smart crime fiction with social conscience.

Karen has moved to the city to earn money to send home to her young son. She works at the high-end House of Beauty salon, playing the role of confidante alongside her waxing and massage services. When one of Karen’s clients, a teenage girl, is found dead, the girl’s mother turns to Karen for information since she was one of the last people to see the girl alive. Then there’s psychoanalyst Claire, another of Karen’s clients, who’s recently returned to Bogotá after living in France for years. The women’s inner and outer lives, their struggles, desires, and increasingly dangerous predicaments are explored and played-out against the salon backdrop and beyond, as Karen becomes embroiled in the city’s criminal underworld. The writing is smart, the story riveting, and the author is truly gifted at character portraiture, and incisive in her exposition of misogyny. ~ Joanne Owen

Joanne Owen

House of Beauty Synopsis

A thought-provoking Colombian crime novel set in and around a beauty salon in Bogota House of Beauty is a high-end salon in Bogota's exclusive Zona Rosa area, and Karen is one of its best beauticians. But there is more to her role than the best way to apply wax, or how to give the perfect massage. Her clients confide in her, and she knows all about them. Their breast implants, their weekends in Miami, their divorces and affairs. Karen has problems of her own. She's in trouble, and she needs money. More money than she can make at House of Beauty. Most serious of all: a teenage girl has been found dead, and Karen was one of the last people to see her alive. So the girl's mother is desperate to talk to her ...

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Closing date: 11/10/2018

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House of Beauty Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A slow burning but very absorbing tale of innocence in a corrupt city. A welcome change from the usual crime fiction, definitely worth a read. Full review

Christine Woolfenden

Don't let the light hearted title fool you, House Of Beauty is a heady tale of insecurities leading to desperate measures, murder and corruption. Thought provoking and original. Full review

Nicola Jones

A crime novel with a difference, set in the lawless corrupt city of Bogota. Told from the viewpoint of two heroines it takes some concentration to read ,but it’s compelling and I would recommend it. Full review

Gillian Wilmott

A great crime story... but not necessarily as you know it. It is a tragic, gripping read and I would definitely recommend it. Full review

Charlotte Walker

I literally could not put this book down. The ending definitely brings a twist that i did not expect. I would advise to read this book, It only took me two days to read! Full review

Britteny Sutcliffe

An unusual thriller. There is more than one victim here, and more than one person responsible for the most heinous of crimes. There is no happy ending here. Full review

Belle Woodward

It’s a book that you can’t put down for all the wrong reasons . It is not enjoyable but it tells you things you need to know. I’d say read it and learn… Full review

Jan Kirkcaldy

A gritty novel, set in a beauty parlour in modern day Colombia. Warning; it's a pretty bleak read. Full review

Alison Greenacre

House of Beauty was not what I was expecting, but isn't that what you want from a good book? Full review

Dee Jessup

This is a multi-stranded story of women trying to survive in a world where men are all powerful. Very different because the women who tell the story have their own battles to fight. Full review

Jocelyn F Garvey

Sorry, this book wasn't for me. Full review

Philippa Newman

This had the potential to be an interesting little book. Full review

Ceri Edwards

A hard going beginning, but be sure to keep at it, It's definitely worth it!! Full review

Cara Templeman

This book was not for me. I feel this book should be read by someone from Columbia. Full review

Diana Mason

House of Beauty Press Reviews

'House of Beauty offers a unique glimpse into modern-day Colombia and an intriguing mystery around issues of gender, class, and race, where a woman's worth is too often tied to her beauty, yet her beauty too often gets her in trouble. It's a pleasure to see a story told through the lens of two very different heroines, rare in crime fiction. And, in these times, this novel is also a much-needed critique of everyday misogyny and corruption'
Winnie M Li, author of Dark Chapter

'Fantastic. I read it faster than it takes to have a mani-pedi and a massage and was moved, shocked and transported' Rachel Edwards, author of Darling

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008264239
Publication date: 08/03/2018
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008264239
Publication date: 8th March 2018
Author: Melba Escobar
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 256 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Crime & mystery, Fiction in translation,

About Melba Escobar

Melba Escobar writes for the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and El Pais. Her novel House of Beauty was chosen as one of the best books of 2016 by the Colombian National Novel Prize. She lives in Bogota.

More About Melba Escobar

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