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Text: FrenchFrom Publishers Weekly:
As in his previous novels, Sulitzer ( The Green King ) remains preoccupied by the getting of wealth in this sweeping, but pedestrianly told rags-to-riches saga based loosely on the life of Helena Rubinstein. As a child in turn-of-the-century Poland, Hannah narrowly survives a pogrom on her Jewish shtetl that kills her father and brother and leaves her infatuated with a handsome gentile boy, Taddeuz. While yet a teenager, the semi-educated but sharp-witted Hannah, abetted by her coldly calculating personality, becomes a prosperous store owner in Warsaw. But no sooner has she contrived to snare her beloved Taddeuz than they are forced to part and, for murky reasons, Hannah makes her way to Australia where, within three years, she is head of an international cosmetics and beauty salon business. Moreover, the diminutive and unbeautiful heroine has aggressively schooled herself in culture and the erotic arts to prepare herself for marriage to the unsuspecting Taddeuz. By her early 20s, Hannah is doyenne of the beauty business in Europe with residences in London, Paris and Vienna, becoming "particularly close friends" with the likes of Strindberg, Klimt, Munch and Gauguin. Although Hannah's redoubtable achievements are the stuff of adolescent fantasy, since her much-vaunted charm, personality and glamorous milieu generally fail to come to life, this is neither a compelling nor a memorable book. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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