In Splendid Summer, socialite Grace Wentworth completes Finishing School abroad, returns home, and discovers that her guardian uncle is dead and her trust fund is empty. It’s the Roaring Twenties and most professions exclude women. Grace jokes that all she learned at Finishing School was that men earn money and women spend it. In the Roaring Twenties, tony families sent their daughters to a Finishing School abroad before they returned home to a Debutante Ball and a well endowed husband.
Thinking about Grace made me curious: Do Finishing Schools still exist today? And if Finishing Schools do still exist, what is the curriculum now? I found a boarding school in Switzerland, Institut Surval Mont-Fleuri, affiliated with a Finishing Program, Institut Villa Pierrefeu. And the curriculum offers International Etiquette, Protocol and Savoir-Vivre. Today’s Finishing School student could be a teenager or an international businesswoman who wants to hone cultural and social skills. Institut Surval Mont-Fleuri offers college preparatory courses and an elective called Skin Care and Beauty Workshop. Very cool.
Splendid Summer is available on Amazon.com in the U.K. http://tinyurl.com/3nmwz8y and the U.S. http://www.amazon.com/Splendid-Summer-ebook/dp/B004WG4GW6 and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/splendid-summer-mary-matthews/1103500037