BOOKS: POSH SPICE; BOOK OF THE WEEK BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE by WENDY HOLDEN (Headline Review, Pounds 12.99) ****

Article excerpt

Byline: HENRY SUTTON

Who would trust a micro-skirt wearing blonde called Totty Ponsonby-Pratt to look after their children? Well, no one in their right mind, but when circumstances suddenly shift, all hell lets loose.

So far we're on familiar Wendy Holden territory - nobs behaving badly and then coming to their senses. However, in this case the Pratt herself remains bad news throughout her minor, though decisive, role in this vast, very modern bonkbuster.

Holden is the author of such glorious hits as Simply Divine, Bad Heir Day, Azur Like It, Filthy Rich and the odd miss along the way. But when she's good, she's very, very good and Beautiful People finds Holden on steroids. Aside from the sheer length, the story moves in some very surprising, always fulfilling ways.

On the surface, it's a classic rags to riches story involving the grimy streets of London and the sparkling boulevards of Hollywood. Underneath, you'll find firm messages about the importance of decent childcare, taking control of your life, and revealing your darkest secrets to those you love.

We begin with brilliant, beautiful and very Northern nursery assistant Emma, who has ambitions to make childcare a serious career. …