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The International Writers Magazine
: Book Review

The Make-Up Girl by Andrea Semple (Piatkus, £6.99)
ISBN: 0749935049
Lyn Ede

Oh what a tangled web, Leeds author, Andrea Semple weaves within the character of Faith, a mere department store make-up sales assistant; a position not worthy of admitting to her mother who has exacting expectations of her daughter. Under pressure, she dreams up an existence of the perfect boyfriend, Adam, in order to placate said mother, who constantly nags her to settle down.

Practising to deceive does not, however, sit well upon the hapless Faith who stumbles in this very contemporary chic lit extravaganza from yarn to yarn, inventing a top Leeds job for herself in the process. Semple tackles laugh-a-minute humour with ease, as we witness Faith becoming a horrified and less than useless birth partner to her screaming friend Alice – ‘you want kids to have safe sex? Take a picture of this woman right now…’, yet she manages to cover an attempted rape scene with the sensitivity and raw fear it deserves. With Faith’s lies snowballing around her, and inadequacy closing in in the form of a perfectly gorgeous and successful sister, she finds herself in the redeeming position of saving the life of a drop-out acquaintance from the building where she lives. The impending doom-filled panic of the unavoidable introduction of the fictitious Adam to her demanding mother keeps the pages turning with mounting dread and intrigue as to how she can possibly carry this off. A great read for Leeds residents and in fact anyone who has experience of mothers or men. There is a little bit of Faith in all of us after all.

© Lynn Ede June 2005

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