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Sensible Melissa Romney-Jones proclaims to her enamored American client, Jonathan Riley, "I like to think I'm a vintage girl. A proper 1950s woman's woman," to which Riley responds: "A proper 1950s man's woman." Crackling with Brit chick wit, Browne's first novel stars a spunky whirlwind in search of love and money. Melissa, after losing her job as a London estate agent, starts the Little Lady Agency to attend to the social needs of single men. This requires Melissa to don a blonde wig and become Honey Blennerhesket, a posh "Mary Poppins in silk stockings." Running the new agency leads to the successful channeling of her inner glamour goddess and romance with Jonathan, but then she wonders, does he love Honey or Melissa? "Little lady" is a term that sounds as retro as Melissa's yearning for old-style romance, but her struggle to empower herself and deal with her feelings regarding the men in her life is as satisfying as free champagne. Browne's dead-on take revitalizes a genre already littered with worn-out Jimmy Choos and tattered miniskirts. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In her debut, London-based freelance writer and journalist Browne tells the clever tale of Melissa Romney-Jones, who's able to organize everything but herself. Out of work for the third time in 18 months, Melissa decides to open an agency and hire out her organizational skills to bachelors who don't have a "little lady" to take care of their shopping, social calendars, and other domestic chores. Because her father is a member of Parliament and constantly in the tabloids for one scandal or another, she keeps her operation under wraps by donning a blond wig and using the name Honey Blennerhesket when acting for the agency. Suprisingly, she finds that Honey is a much more assertive and quick-thinking version of herself. However, Melissa can't call on Honey to save her from her horrible family, which includes her haranguing father, loopy mother, and selfish sisters. Things begin to unravel when Honey is asked to her youngest sister's wedding by one of her clients and Melissa is unable to put her foot down. A sometimes confusing but constantly entertaining story; recommended for public libraries. [In Browne's follow-up to this book, Honey's adventures will continue in New York City.-Ed.]-Lisa O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Libs., Winnepeg (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Brown's charming debut finds Melissa -Romney--Jones losing yet another job, this time to layoffs due to a company merger. Out on the town with friends, Melissa runs into an old school acquaintance who is working for their old etiquette teacher as a companion for wealthy men. Melissa looks up the teacher and begins to schedule dates, but she's horrified to discover her old teacher is in fact running an escort service. Melissa quickly gets out of the business, but she's taken with the idea of a chaste version of it, and starts the Little Lady Agency to help socially clueless men and those merely in need of dates. Using the name Honey, Melissa accompanies one man to a family party, and helps another dump his girlfriend. She lands her biggest client in handsome American Jonathan, who just happens to be running the company she used to work for; but Melissa starts to wonder if she's losing her objectivity when she finds herself falling for Jonathan. A warm, winning tale. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2005 Booklist