The Spa at Lavender Lane

by Phyllis Melhado

If you’re looking for a good read to get away from all the hoopla, here is your chance. The Spa at Lavender Lane is the perfect ‘escape’ book.

The+Spa+at+Lavender+Lane+Book CoverRussian immigrant, Nadia Demidova is a very personable and professional businesswoman. She has operated her spa for twenty-five years and addresses every need of its rich and famous clientele. This will be another week of pampering for her guests and she will stretch the limits of her staff to provide the best courtesies, no matter how small.

Phoebe Bancroft, her longtime English assistant will deal with the more demanding requests and has the grace of a gazelle when called upon to calm the waters. The professional relationship between owner and assistant is just that – professional. And Phoebe has devoted two decades to this company, and she is feeling the urge to take on a more ‘invested’ interest in the spa.

Already installed at the spa is Nadia’s dear friend Dr. Eleanor Franklin, CEO of Franklin Nutritionals. Eleanor is a widow and inherited her husband’s company upon his death. Her experience and training brought the company into the twentieth century. But now that she is aging, the company is looking to push her aside for a more youthful image.  Eleanor is recovering from botched facial surgery and has holed up in the most luxurious suite that overlooks the grand Coachella Valley.

Next to arrive at the spa is Mavis Perkins, the former global model. Previous trips to the spa have taught Nadia that Mavis will push her patience, especially when she learns her coveted spectacular suite is occupied. It will take a minor miracle and some tactful persuading to coach Mavis into less glamorous accommodations. But will Mavis be more of a challenge to Nadia, or the other guests?

Arriving in a tizzy are 42-year-old Charlotte Tanner and her 15-year-old daughter, Lauren Fanning from Dallas. Charlotte is escaping her latest divorce from her second husband. Lauren wants to be anywhere but at the spa; typical teenager. Charlotte discovered she had a knack for stock market trading a few years back and her soon to be divorced husband had no idea that he might be trading up with a younger woman but leaving behind a financial genius.

Toni, or Antoinette Etheridge, is a 40-year-old pregnant woman. Toni is fleeing her former job in NYC as a buyer for a famous sportswear designer. She is attempting to find her next life as she longs to be a mother. At the moment she is unemployed to-be mother, but that will pass and by then Toni knows she will have mapped out her future.

There will be one more guest to arrive late to the party, Peter Culvane. What will his interest be in the famous spa? Though his breeding was just as extravagant as the other guests, and his tastes similar in fine dining and embellishments, exactly what would this successful Boston mergers and acquisitions man want at The Spa at Lavender Lane? Peter had never had a manicure in his life.

Despite all the drama that will take place over the next week, Nadia has important matters to discuss with her attorney. Unfortunately, before she can keep this appointment, she expires.

I loved The Spa at Lavender Lane. I’m always suggesting to my blog readers to read the acknowledgments, introductions, and other parts of the book. There are always interesting tidbits one can pick up. So I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the previous glamorous life of the author, Phyllis Melhado.

This is not Phyllis’ first publication. As the former VP of Public Relations for Estee Lauder, she has a few other credits to her name. You’ll have to read the book to find out. As one who has used Estee Lauder products for over four decades, I can only imagine the lifestyle Ms. Melhado has been endowed. It was a pleasure to read her latest publication.


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