Clearly Leslie Ludy doesn’t care about being culturally relevant. Her book, The Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Feminine Grace is a clarion call for young women to return to virtue, manners, and modesty. Not exactly the kind of headlines you see in most publications geared toward teenaged girls and young women today. In fact, it seems to me, a casual observer but an observer nonetheless, that Ludy is correct in her observation that many young women today are surrounded by “peers who [applaud] self-obsessed, arrogant, sexually aggressive young women.” Where are the women who possess genuine grace, poise, elegance and charm? Are these lost virtues? Is true beauty a lost art?
According to Ludy, no, it is not. In fact, we must recapture the definition of true beauty and how we find it. Ludy tells her own story of figuring out what it means to be truly beautiful and many of her struggles with insecurity and self esteem echoed my own and probably yours as well. What I appreciated most about The Lost Art of True Beauty is Ludy’s vision of true beauty as God intended it to be:
When Christ overtakes a woman’s life and transforms her from the inside out, she becomes truly feminine–a picture of elegance, grace, and loveliness blended with sacrificial selfless devotion to her King. She becomes a true lady, carrying herself with poise and confidence, yet deflecting all attention away from herself and toward Jesus Christ. She is enchantingly mysterious, holding her inner life sacred and guarding her heart with quiet tenacity.
Told you it was counter cultural. Yet, this kind of true beauty is not something we summon through our own efforts:
Any human beauty, any human value that we might within ourselves is just a filthy rag compared to th elimitless beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. Christ’s beauty is perfect. And, in spite of what we deserve, He desires to adorn us with His spectacular glory. It is not our unique beauty that must shine for this world to see. It is not our own beauty that we must discover and embrace–it is His.
After casting the vision of God’s pattern for feminine loveliness, Ludy explores topics such as dress and manners, hospitality and selflessness. True, Ludy writes with an elevated sense of the romantic, yet it seems to work and serves to inspire her readers to the pursuit of feminine grace and dignity. Ludy gives much practical advice without advocating a rigid sense of do’s and don’t’s, something that would be easy to do given the topic. In fact, as a non-romantic, some of her suggestions seemed a little, well, over the top. Perfumed stationery? Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, that’s great for her but I’m thinking my femininity is still virtuous even in the use of email and texts…
I liked this book and really my only quibble is with Ludy’s continued references to her other books. Such allusions surely represent a passion for her message but still it felt at times like an infomercial of sorts. All in all, The Lost Art of True Beauty carries an important and critical message to today’s young women and I recommend it to any woman eager to reflect Christ in all things and pursue the kind of femininity that is radically different from that of the world.
Thanks to the publisher Harvest House, we have 3 copies to give away (U.S. residents only). Leave a comment if you’d like to win, and we’ll announce the winners on the 3/31 giveaway review post.
The winners of last week’s giveaways are
- Her Mother’s Hope: #61 Sheri
- Thomas and the Runaway Kite DVD:#51 – Jennifer M
- The Secret Lives of Princesses puzzle cards pack: Amber, liz colman, katklaw777, stephanie rutledge, amy, Rebecca, Mattie Cradduck, Bambi M., Melissa Painter, and Maja Meza
- Teacher Tales: Rita, cris, and Kirsten T.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes…. Lisa would like to thank Harvest House publishers for providing a review copy of this book.