Kay Thomas, the author, has a friendly girlfriend to girlfriend way of writing. Her prose is lyrical, funny, and inspiring. What I really love is the message that although beauty is not given to all girls, loveliness can be achieved by anyone. Miss Thomas talks about both the inner and outer self and how achieving balance between the two, can bring about grace and charm.
The book gives practical advice, with an unmistakable girly slant. We learn that it is ok to want to be attractive and lovely and what is more, it's really fun too. Every aspect of grooming is touched upon: from how to keep a neat "billfold" to how to select the proper slip for a party dress. Yes, it's a bit dated, perhaps not entirely PC, but it's very sweet.
The line drawings are delightfully done by illustrator John Mecray, who also contributed to the Eileen Ford Book of Beauty and a teen novel or two. After an internet search, I discovered Mecray is a famous marine illustrator who lives just over the bridge from me in our small coastal state! He left fashion illustrating far behind and now only devotes his talent to ships and schooners. In Secrets of Loveliness he has a deft touch with a pulse on mid-century femininity and therefore, I find his soft drawings both engaging and reassuring.
For fun, I've chosen a contemporary cover picture for a modern edition. Should another version come to pass, I would keep Kay Thomas and John Mecray on board.