Campbell, Rebecca 1967–
Campbell, Rebecca 1967–
PERSONAL: Born 1967, in London, England; daughter of Paddy Campbell (a fashion designer); married; children: Gabriel. Education: Attended London School of Economics and London College of Fashion.
CAREER: Paddy Campbell Fashions, London, England, co-owner and designer, 1999–; writer.
The Favours and Fortunes of Katie Castle, HarperCollins (London, England), 2002, published as Slave to Fashion, Villard Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Alice's Secret Garden, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003, published as Slave to Love, Villard Books (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Rebecca Campbell was a child when her mother, Paddy Campbell, opened a designer fashion house in London, England. After completing an education in economics and fashion design herself, Rebecca joined her mother in Paddy Campbell Fashions, described by Arlene Stewart in Victoria magazine as "one of London's most soigné fashion houses." In an interesting twist, however, Rebecca Campbell has also drawn upon her experiences in London society to write novels that introduce dark and complicated heroines who come to understand themselves through adverse and challenging circumstances.
Campbell's first novel was published in England as The Favours and Fortunes of Katie Castle and in the United States as Slave to Fashion. The heroine of the novel, described by Kathleen Hughes in Booklist as "a meaner, greedier Bridget Jones," is a serious player in London's cut-throat fashion industry. Katie Castle's charmed life falls apart when her boss, Penny Moss, discovers that Katie has been unfaithful to her intended, who also happens to be Penny's son. Fired from her job and thrown out of the apartment she shared with her fiancée, Katie must begin from scratch to work her way back into the top levels of the fashion scene. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "smarter and darker than your average Bridget Jones knockoff," continuing that Campbell "is most incisive about the bitchy evanescence of the fashion world." In Kirkus Reviews, a critic described the story as "misadventures in the British rag trade, from a fashion insider." The critic concluded that Campbell's work is a "sharply observed and very amusing first novel."
Campbell's Slave to Love, published in England as Alice's Secret Garden, is "a gothic tale filled with dark overtones," to quote Patty Engelmann in Booklist. Although her inclinations run to studying natural history, Alice Duclos finds herself working at an auction house, where she begins a difficult-to-define relationship with fellow employee Andrew Heathley. Andrew respects and understands Alice, but he lacks the charm of enigmatic Edward Lynden, who wishes to sell a rare book through the auction house. Campbell's characters find it hard to accept such notions as love, and they muse equally about love's vagaries and the wider random occurrences around them. Although a Kirkus Reviews critic noted Campbell's "tendency to indulge in erudite (and irritating) mooniness" in the novel, the critic nevertheless judged Slave to Love "chick-lit for intellectuals."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Kathleen Hughes, review of Slave to Fashion, p. 990; May 15, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of Slave to Love, p. 1603.
Boston Globe, March 31, 2002, Amanda Heller, review of Slave to Fashion, p. E3.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2001, review of Slave to Fashion, p. 1623; May 15, 2004, review of Slave to Love, p. 471.
Publishers Weekly, January 7, 2002, review of Slave to Fashion, p. 45.
Victoria, March, 1999, Arlene Stewart, "Keeping Fashion in the Family," p. 50.