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De schoonheidssalon

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,187 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Karen Valdés verhuist van Cartagena de Indias naar Bogotá, op zoek naar een beter betaalde baan als schoonheidsspecialiste - haar zoontje is bij haar moeder achtergebleven. Ze gaat aan het werk bij De Schoonheidssalon en in de intimiteit van de behandelkamer wordt ze onbedoeld en ongewild de vertrouwelinge van een psychoanalytica, een senatorsvrouw, een beroemde televisiep ...more
Paperback, 237 pages
Published October 2018 by Atlas Contact (first published 2015)
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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 ·  1,187 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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Oh, man. I so badly wanted House of Beauty to be good. A crime novel revolving around a Bogotá beauty salon, featuring the murder of a schoolgirl and a coverup by corrupt officials involved in massive healthcare fraud? The idea of a salon as a place where women go to tell each other things and feel safe, where the world of men cannot—for a brief while—intrude? Yes please. And Fourth Estate is publishing it, so I got a NetGalley proof, trusting. I was wrong to trust.

Part of the problem—and I don’
Susan Hampson
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a stunning book cover, very different to so many that are alike these days and to be honest so is what is inside. Set in Colombia the story transported me into an alien society. A society where crimes just seemed to be accepted by victims that had given up on the hope of any justice been done. I aren’t talking about life on the streets either. The story unwinds in a high-class beauty salon in Bogotá’s Zona Rosa area.
I don’t know what it is about anything from the high street hair saloon
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, latin-america, 2018
I wish I had liked this more than I did. I mean, the idea of a high-end beauty salon and one of the employees being among the last people to see a young girl who dies was great. The execution just didn't work for me. It's never really about the girl's death, this isn't really a crime novel - unless you count the multiple ways in which it depicts Colombian society and police and crimes. And that is probably the best part, you get a glimpse of a country that probably produces a lot of novels as we ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
#FirstLine ~ I hate artificial nails in outlandish colours, fake blonde hair, cool silk blouses and diamond earrings at four in the afternoon.

A gripping thriller in an amazing setting with a story that will keep you turning pages. It was original and daring. A book that tackles topics head and without apologies, with a fierceness that is very memorable. A great read!
I honestly don’t know what to say about this book. It doesn’t seem to be about what the inside flap said it’s about at all. It might have gotten better, but I was not interested enough to find out. DNF (I’m kind of embarrassed to quit a book, but then I realized so are so many better ones I want to read. Why waste my time?)
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imperfect but really, really good

If you have ever spent time in Bogotá, this book will make you nostalgic: the sense of place is beautifully drawn, even if you have little fondness for the actual city. As one Colombian reviewer noted, Escobar captures the lifestyles of people who manage to live in Bogotá without living in Colombia ... and also the one who do their bikini waxes, serve them coffee, and suffer the indignities of the caste system. It’s an infuriatingly nuanced view of class, race an
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Crime, Thrillers, Mystery, Anyone
I enjoyed reading HOUSE OF BEAUTY, although, I think it’s fair to say, not as much as I hoped to.

I was lured by the premise of a crime novel centring around a beauty salon, featuring the murder of a schoolgirl, concealed by corrupt officials involved in massive healthcare fraud, all happening in Bogota in Columbia. It sounded like a brilliant idea for a novel! I was also drawn by the notion of a beauty salon as a safe place to go, where women can discuss their innermost secrets with each other
Feb 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this soon enough. You're probably thinking, wow, is it that good?

Well... I couldn't finish it soon enough because I desperately wanted to move on to a more enjoyable book. This was monotonous, tedious (long, long, long paragraphs), unstructured and probably one of the worst cases of head-hopping I've come across: practically mid-sentence. The story was meant to be told from different POVs, but it was badly executed.

What is it about? I couldn't tell you, really. There were: a mu
This book I got in a book box but the blurb immediately interested me as it talked about murder being connected to a beauty salon. The cover didn't hurt either. 

House of Beauty is about three women and their connections to a beauty salon, as well as how they survive in Columbia, as women across the various classes. Karen is approached by a client's mother for information connected to her murder. We follow the victim's mother and the progress of the case, as well as each woman as she works toward
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely refreshing thanks to where is it from.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted this book to be better. I found it difficult to get past the confusing and abrupt change of speakers through out the book, the speaker would change during the same chapter and I was lost as to who was telling the story. The event timeline jumped all over the place and it was hard to piece together what was happening. There were some violent details in the book that made it hard to read at times so steer clear if you’re sensitive to sexual violence especially. I didn’t feel connected to ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another disappointing book club book. I don't know if something was lost in the translation of the book, but I found it difficult to follow and remember which person they were talking about. The intrigue was only moderately, well, intriguing. The reviews suggested a much more fascinating book that what it actually was. The storyline was original, but the motives behind the murders were never fully explained/understood so I finished the book feeling like the story was never fully resolved.

Jessica Hinton

The basis for this book is really interesting - I know very little about Colombia and this book gives a great insight to some of the culture there, but mostly focusses on the pervasive corruption that takes place. I liked the fact that it was mainly set in a beauty salon. The idea that this is a safe place where women could confide in one another was interesting and allowed for some really strong female characters to have their voices heard. It's a tragic crime fiction story that features violen
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The phrase ‘you like swimming’ had echoed in my ears. The truth was, I did. I had liked swimming as an adolescent, and I had at university, too. Why had I stopped swimming? ‘You like swimming’ echoed in my head again and again until I felt like I was drowning. P.44

For breakfast, he had four eggs, half a kilo of cheese, a jug of juice and three cups of coffee. At eleven, he had his bodyguard fetch him a cheese arepa, a chicken empanada, and beef, yuca and guava pastries. When Ramelli confessed to
"I thought about how many women felt they had spoiled their lives trying to please a third party, for doing things only to be seen doing them, rather than out of pleasure or purpose. Perhaps there were men who did the same, but I had no evidence of that."

Set in present day Bogota, Columbia, the story focuses on two women, Karen and Claire. Karen is a beauty therapist working in high class salon, House of Beauty, earning enough money to bring her four year old son Emiliano from living with her mo
Potter Wickware
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Casa de la Belleza. Melba Escobar de Nogales. Emecé Cruz del Sur 2015.
Skillfully plotted novel set in Colombia. In Spanish. Karen Valdes, beautiful, ambitious, energetic, a young black female in racist Colombia, underprivileged and with an out of wedlock child. She moves to Bogotá from Cartagena to improve her situation and becomes an estetica in La Casa de Belleza, a salon catering to wealthy, insecure women where she specializes in “depiliación” (bikini waxing). Various misfortunes pursue h
Lydia Gallagher
Well first of all this book was not at all what I expected from the blurb. From the blurb I expected Karen to be the main (possibly only) narrator of the story, but there were many and I'm not really sure who the book was supposed to be about. It also passed from one narrator to another quickly, all were women and no character was particularly well developed so I spent a lot of the time unsure from whose point of view I was reading. This confusion definitely took away the enjoyment for me.

I don'
Nina ( picturetalk321 )
This book is OK. The cover I had (the blue one of the English translation in hardback) promises 'manicure, massage and murder' which the novel does deliver but this is not a standard crime mystery. We have three point-of-view protagonists, all women which is nice but all confusing which is less nice. Half the time I did not know who was speaking. Two of the three pov characters are written in the first person and I did not manage to tell them apart properly, not even by the end. In fact, I had t ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
The HOUSE OF BEAUTY is a translation from Spanish and not a good one. There is an awkwardness about both the prose and the dialog that interferes with the plot. Sections that should be taut and thrilling, in translation, often seem silly. The book summary does not seem to be the primary plot of the book. Rather, the plot involves the workers in the Beauty Shop and their possible roles with their clients, namely, who exploits whom? There is enough exploitation for everyone to have a piece. There ...more
Meli Segura
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

You know what to expect when you pick up a book with high heels on the cover, or pink, baby blue and a pair of bloody scissors on the other version of the cover. A light, entertaining story.

I agree with everyone else saying there's no change in the voice of the narrator but setting that aside... after all, who am I to criticize a published book?

It was delightful to read about the intimate space in a beauty salon, the different relationships women create among them, the struggles of the
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A pretty shocking account of the disposability of women and how they are seen as second class citizens in Colombian society where sexual abuse is deemed the fault of the woman, even by the victim. The city is crime-ridden with murders as commonplace and corruption amongst the people in charge. The story written from the perspective of different women gave me an insight into a country I knew nothing about and I am glad I read it. The reason it only warranted 3 stars was the narrative was sometime ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I bought this book I had no idea it was a Spanish translated into English book and this is the first time I've read a book like this. I did find it hard to grasp at first and I'm not sure they always flow as easy when translated but after a while i couldn't decide whether that was just the writing style and i started to enjoy it. For such a small read it had alot of content and it was slowly building into a big last few chapters. Overall I really enjoyed it as it was different to normal cri ...more
Athena Rupas
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the cover of the book and how it opens up. This is definitely a very gripping thriller that has an amazing setting. The story itself will keep you going until the very end. I read it in one sitting. It was a very original story which was very refreshing! It's memorable and will stick with you long after you finish the book! I highly recommend this one!

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Jen Strachan
There are a lot of things lost in translation with this book. I think it would make more sense and be more enjoyable read in Spanish.
However I think due to translation, a lot of this is clunky and stilted. The change of characters isn't obvious and sometimes I was reading it thinking it was Claire when it was actually Lucia. It was very confusing. I also did not like the change of 1st person to 3rd person narrator.
House of Beauty started off promisingly but for me the ending was flat.
I do wonder if I could read / speak Spanish and read the original if parts would read better. However, what I didn't like was the change from 1st to 3rd person narration, and the change in Karen's character didn't ring the to me.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the story; the writer made everything so real and it was easy to empathise with the protagonist, Karen. As the story progressed it started to feel muddled, unclear who the narrator is in each chapter. Chapter headings or similar would have helped make it clearer. The ending petered out which is a shame given the strong start.
Debbie Williams
I received this as part of my postal book club membership and thought it was going to be rubbish.
However, it gave an interesting insight into real life in Bogotá, corrupt politics, the beauty and sex industry and some interesting characters and twists.
Pleasantly surprised. Easy holiday read.
Gillian Malone-Johnstone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn Marsanne
I read this book in a few hours..but it didn't really live up to the book blurb.
I was a little confused by who was speaking and there are a lot of characters.
The portrayal of Bogota was gritty and depressing... quite graphic in the sexual detail which may upset some readers.
I thought this looked to be a refreshingly original crime novel but didn't really meet my expectations.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was far darker than I expected it to be and I read it really quickly! I thought the setting was interesting, not a place you usually read about. The story intrigued me as well. However, I thought the way it changed from first to third person and switched between different characters points of view was a bit confusing.
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Melba Escobar has a column at the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and El País. Her novel House of Beauty was chosen as one of the best books of 2016 by the Colombian National Novel Prize. She lives in Bogotá.

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