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Beyond the Blonde    by Kathleen Flynn-Hui order for
Beyond the Blonde
by Kathleen Flynn-Hui
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Beyond the Blonde is the story of Georgia Watkins, a colorist with small-town origins who makes it big in the Big Apple. Georgia comes from 'Humble Roots'. She was brought up by a single mom who ran a hair salon, Doreen's, in Weekeepeemie, New Hampshire. Georgia's sister Melodie is a budding genius, but all Georgia wants to do is work with her mom.

But Doreen says no and gives Georgia the birthday gift of a trip to New York. She signs up for the Wilfred Academy of Beauty, where she meets her soon to be best friend Patrick and the rest is (almost) history. He steers Georgia to a job at the up and coming salon, Jean Luc's, where they spend the next decade. Georgia and stylist Massimo develop a hot relationship, and the threesome eventually take the risk of branching out on their own.

Though the story is a fairly simple, sweet one, what I enjoyed most about the novel was its social commentary on the lifestyles of the salon's privileged clientele, whom Georgia categorizes into types like 'The Manhattan' (who come in two varietals), 'The Five Towns', and 'The Beverly Hills'. Kathleen Flynn-Hui knows of what she writes, being a salon color director and colorist to many celebrities in her day job.

Beyond the Blonde is a light, frothy read, full of color and style, and with a 'Happily Ever After' sentimental ending, achieved in a most surprising manner. Take it along to your next hair salon appointment - your colorist will be reading over your shoulder.

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