•William C. Morris Award Finalist
•California Book Award Finalist
•Junior Library Guild Selection
•Best Children’s Books of the year Honor, Bank Street Book Committee
When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.
Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect adornment of plainness.
But Isabelle has no idea her new “friend” is the hired help, and Maude’s very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.
Inspired by a short story written by Emile Zola, BELLE EPOQUE is set during the building of the Eiffel tower when Paris was preparing for the World’s Fair and the dawning of a new century.
“With resonant period detail, elegant narration, and a layered exploration of class and friendship, this provocative novel is ripe with satisfaction.” –BOOKLIST
“This is a compelling story about friendship, the complexity of beauty, and self-discovery. It is full of strong female characters driven by the pursuit of their dreams…” – SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
“Ross offers not one, but two strong heroines in her debut novel… Both touching and fun, this is a story about many things—true friendship, real beauty, being caught between two worlds—and it will delight fans of historical fiction.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY