Little Lady, Big Apple
Grade : B-

Little Lady, Big Apple is the sequel to last year's very enjoyable The Little Lady Agency. This one suffers a bit in comparison to the first, but overall it is still agreeable.

Melissa Romney-Jones is coasting along enjoying the dual successes of her business (she organizes the lives of single men as a sort of stand-in girlfriend) and her relationship with Jonathan, a debonair American estate agent, when suddenly both receive a bit of a shake up. Jonathan is promoted and sent to New York and he would like her to accompany him and take a break from fixing up other men's lives. Melissa is uncertain about leaving her business in inexpert hands and about seeing Jonathan's ex-wife, Cindy, but she decides to be game and take the trip.

Once in New York City, Melissa begins to feel like a fish out of water – a useless, somewhat quaint fish out of water. Jonathan is busy all of the time with his new position, and Melissa can only be guided about so much by his friendly (but paid) assistant. However, soon she is embroiled in a number of people's problems – from a dog in need of training to a British rising star who needs to learn how to get along better with his fellow homo sapiens. Unfortunately, due to Jonathan's feelings on the matter, she must do it as Melissa and not as her alter-ego Honey, and she has to concentrate on projects that are more acceptable to Jonathan and his elevated position.

Ultimately the book's major conflict – Melissa's career and how she would like to run it as opposed to the direction Jonathan wants her to move in – is never satisfactorily resolved. While one can sympathize with Jonathan, his objections mainly come across as insecurity, which is less than attractive in a love interest. Also, it is easy to see that his job is going to be problematic for the two of them. He is too willing to sacrifice his personal life in his pursuit of success.

The combination of intrinsically insecure heroine and new setting results in Melissa being more tentative in this book than in the last, and she was wracked with enough uncertainty in that one. Since Jonathan objects to Honey, Melissa must be content with trying to mentally impersonate her only in times of stress, which is less than successful. Readers who enjoyed the masquerading aspect of The Little Lady Agency and how empowered Melissa was in her Honey wig may be disappointed with Honey's absence here.

Many characters from the first book are mere walk-ons here. Unfortunately, they aren't replaced with particularly memorable American counterparts. Melissa never really warms up to New York, and one wonders how that will impact her relationship in the future. However since both Jonathan and Melissa are still playacting the perfect love interest with each other, the reader is left wondering if, given their lack of true intimacy, a break up wouldn't be for the best. The author hints a bit that Melissa's true love might be someone else, but it's so subtle that no conclusions can be drawn at this point in the series.

Despite these problems, Melissa is still a very likable character with humorous insights. When she gets the opportunity to help people or fix them up, she shines. And it is interesting to see America through the British lens instead of the other way around.

I bought Little Lady, Big Apple in hardcover and wish a bit I'd waited for the library to get it. However, I am invested enough in Melissa to follow her adventures in The Little Lady and the Prince, out next year.

Reviewed by Rachel Potter
Grade : B-
Book Type: Chick Lit

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : March 28, 2007

Publication Date: 2007

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Recent Comments …

  1. What kept me reading was the sheer unpredictability of the storyline. I knew David’s and Chelsea’s paths would cross again…

Rachel Potter

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