Planet Books


Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding


On the surface, this book is an easy, 'perfect for holiday' sort of read. Beneath the surface, however, it’s an interesting exploration of how we glorify and excuse the behaviour of the beautiful people while still being able to turn on them at the drop of a hat.      

Our beautiful person is Kate Randolph and her acolyte/adoring friend is Frances Metcalfe. Kate and Frances are mirror opposites. Kate is confident, wealthy and gorgeous while Frances is insecure, financially unsure and emotionally paranoid.

What, then, could possibly bring them together? The same thing that brings many people together: a mutual dislike of something. In this case, it is a dislike of the snobbish parents at the school their children attend. Those snobby parents want Kate in their ranks but when the mere suggestion Kate may have a murky past is made? Those same ranks are closed and Kate is rejected as an undisputed villain.

I found the ready acceptance of Kate’s villainy truly awful. What happened to innocent before proven guilty? I also found the exploration of Kate’s history and her evil doings fascinating. Why do people do bad things? Why are we (well, maybe it’s just me) more horrified when a woman does evil things?

The consequences of past wrongdoings haunt the present both through the parental reaction to Kate and the conduct of others to Kate’s children – particularly her daughter. Does evil beget evil or can someone stop the cycle of abuse? Good questions are asked and answered by a good holiday read.


Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.