There's Little Depth, But Plenty of Fun
By Lex Voytek
“Beauty and Attention” was a light-hearted read I didn’t realize I needed.
Set in the 1950s, Liz Rosenberg’s novel reads more like an adventure story than historical fiction.
Most of the story takes place in Ireland, where protagonist Libby cares for her sickly uncle and cousin. The cousin, Lazarus, was one of the most interesting and well-written characters in the book. He was dynamic and surprising throughout the story.
Libby breathes new life into the beautiful country estate and soon attracts the attention of people around the village – particularly from an English lord. The story occasionally dipped into the frivolous and cliché, and this was certainly one of those moments.
But the pacing and well-written characters kept me reading in spite of occasional lulls in plot.
When the English lord inevitably proposes, Libby escapes with her aunt to Paris.
Libby’s stay in Europe happens within the second half of the book; this is where it nearly lost me completely, but Rosenberg somehow revived the story with her uncanny sense for pacing, and got me through what I found to be a rather confusing deviation.
When the book returns to the strong roots that Rosenberg established in the first half, we are reacquainted with the conflicts that Libby set out to resolve. The resolution of this book was satisfying overall, albeit a little trite.
In spite of the lack of depth, “Beauty and Attention” is a fun and engaging, albeit unrealistic, romp abroad.
Lex Voytek is a freelance book reviewer.