“RARE OBJECTS is a delicious novel by the imaginative and deft Kathleen Tessaro, who creates unforgettable worlds, and within them, compelling characters who stay with the reader long after she reaches the end.
—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
“…Tessaro’s complicated heroines—and the shattering reveal of secret after secret—will keep readers guessing until the final page.”
“Tessaro has the skill to transport the reader to another time and place. She put me on the streets of Boston’s North End. But her description of places and sensations throughout the book are wonderful.”
—Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect
In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing work of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.
Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston’s North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she’s determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.
However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.
Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America’s social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she’s the young woman from the hospital.
Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she’ll to go to reinvent herself.
THE PERFUME COLLECTOR
A secret history of scent, memory and desire ... from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Elegance and
London,1955: Grace Monroe is a very fortunate young woman. In spite of a sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles, where alliances are formed and reputations made. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come naturally to her - and perhaps never will.
Then one evening, a letter arrives from a law firm in Paris. Grace has received an unanticipated inheritance. Only her benefactor, Frenchwoman Eva d’Orsey, is a complete stranger to her. Grace dismisses it as a mistake. However, when later that same night, she suddenly suspects her husband of infidelity, her world is thrown into chaos.
Fleeing London for Paris, Grace searching for information about the mysterious Eva d’Orsey. What she uncovers is the remarkable history of an unconventional woman who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Only Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect. And soon Grace must chose between the life she thinks she ought to live or becoming the person she truly is.
Told in three distinctive perfumes, the story weaves through the decades, from 1920’s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris and London; revealing the complex, obsessive love between muse and artist and the tremendous power of memory and scent.
Can the secrets of one woman's past change another woman's future?
A gifted artist, Cate has come to London from New York to escape her recent past. Working for her aunt's auction house, she is sent down to Devon to value the contents of Endsleigh House, the once gracious but now crumbling estate of a former socialite. There, hidden in the back of a dusty bookshelf, Cate discovers an old shoebox. Inside is a strange assortment of objects: an exquisite pair of dancing shoes circa 1930; a diamond brooch; a photograph of a young sailor; a dance card; and a pearl and emerald Tiffanys bracelet.
Intrigued by her find, Cate sets out to solve the mystery of the box, becoming immersed in the story of its owner, Baby Blythe. Bright, beautiful, and reckless, Baby was the most famous debutante of her generation . . . and the most dangerous. As the clues begin to reveal a shocking tale of destructive, addictive love, Cate finds herself being drawn deeper into Baby's tragic life story—a story that will force Cate to face some dark truths about her own.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector comes this charming, witty novel about a “professional” flirt.
“Unique situation for an attractive, well-mannered, morally flexible young man. Hours irregular. Pay generous. Discretion a must…”
When struggling, out-of-work actor, Hughie Venables-Smythe sees the mysterious job description in the classifieds, he’s convinced he’s found his destiny. For, though he’s become accustomed to running out of credit on his cell phone, sleeping on his sister’s sofa, and begging the waitress at the local café to let him slide yet again on his bill, he longs to treat his lover—the sexy, sophisticated, and amorously ruthless lingerie designer, Leticia Vane, to the finer things in life. But how is he to win her heart if he can’t even pay for dinner? When he learns that his lucrative new position means flirting with married women who have been neglected by their spouses, he can’t believe his luck.
Soon initiated into the extraordinary secret fraternity of the Professional Flirt, Hughie promises to have an exceptional career ahead of him. However, the life of a Flirt is a curiously lonely calling and there’s one absolute rule his new employer has: he must remain single. Only—how can he live without the delicious Leticia Vane?
Surely, there’s nothing wrong with using a few of his newly polished romantic skills on the side to quietly seduce the woman he loves . . . is there?
As clueless as he is handsome, Hughie gamely decides to throw his already complicated life into utter chaos . . . and discovers exactly why a Flirt’s professional and personal life should never mix.
‘An absorbing novel of love, innocence and experience’
WOMAN AND HOME
‘Elegantly written and compelling’ ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
‘Following on from Tessaro’s very original debut, Elegance, comes this equally impressive and perceptive second novel’ THE MIRROR
‘Amusing and poignant’
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘A warm tale of love, friendship and following your dreams’ COSMOPOLITAN
‘This is a coming-of-age novel for women who have wasted their 20s on cheap men and rough wine ’
‘A wonderful tale of lust, love, life and redemption ’
WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY
From New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Tessaro comes a poignant, funny, and unforgettable story of real life, real love, and fantasy—and the changes they put you through.
1986. Starry-eyed and ready to take the world by storm, Evie Garlick leaves her small town of Eden, Ohio, to study drama in London, intent on becoming a star of the classical stage. But when she arrives in England, it quickly becomes clear she’s way out of her element—and completely unprepared for what fate has in store for her.
Luckily, her new flatmate, the larger-than-life Robbie, immediately takes the bewildered Evie under her wing. Glamorous and bohemian, Robbie’s unorthodox Greenwich Village upbringing and reckless lust for life both dazzle and astonish Evie. Soon the drama offstage in their small student flat is more exciting than any Broadway play. And when Evie meets Jake, a defiantly self-assured young musician bent on two things—success and her—she finds herself suddenly in far too deep, painfully in love, out of control, and yet thrillingly alive, questioning everything about herself—and her dreams.
2001. Robbie has been dead for five years, and Evie, now a single mother, is still living in London. Resigned to earning a living by teaching drama to night students, her life bears little resemblance to the one she’d imagined for herself fifteen years ago. Her carefully ordered routine and beloved son help to keep the memories and regrets at bay—most of the time. But when the past pays Evie a visit, she’s forced to confront the ambitious young woman she used to be and re-examine the choices she made…and those she couldn’t—in order to claim a new future.
Louise C. wants what Jackie O had ...
Unhappy with her looks, her life, and her empty marriage, Louise Canova needs help -- and she finds it in a secondhand bookstore. A forty-year-old encyclopedia of style titled Elegance, this slim volume by formidable French fashion expert Madame Dariaux promises to transform even the plainest of women into creatures of poise and grace. It is a fairy godmother in print, an A-to-Z manual with essential advice that Louise vows to take to heart. But within its pages lie not only clues from her past, but also powerful lessons for the future. And as the old Louise gives way to the stunning new, she's about to find out that there's more to every life than what appears on the surface ... and that everything, even elegance, has its price.
‘Ultra-smart and classily edgy..."
“Through vivid descriptions, lively mishaps and devastating details, Tessaro serves up a witty, original, fast–moving debut.”
"This debut novel is the perfect summer read – as delightfully fruity as a glass of Pimm's and with a similar kick, one that catches you unawares." DAILY MAIL
‘funny, charming and a certain bestseller.‘
“The finely wrought debut novel tells a Cinderella story…Tessaro is a skillful writer, and in her capable hands this subject receives the respect it deserves … Readers will enjoy following the harrowing journey of self–discover, renewal, and reinvention to its uplifting conclusion.”
'a perfect pick-me-up'
‘This is a book all women will identify with, and you’ll adore Louise, who’s every bit as charmingly neurotic and nutty as Bridget Jones.’ GLAMOUR
“Hilarious . . . A fantastic read . . . Kathleen Tessaro writes beautifully and with great confidence. I was totally hooked by her unique combination of wit, irony, and darkness.”
‘A brilliant read with fashion advice thrown in!’ NEW WOMAN
‘an irresistible love story and self-help manual rolled into one.’
"It's surprising that this is Kathleen Tessaro's first novel as her style shows the confidence and ease of a more seasoned writer… A charming, entertaining novel."
‘The best of the genre’