Failed, divorced, lovelorn actress gets hunky boarder with a hidden agenda.
Things are getting rough in Manhattan for turning-40 Kat Miner, who once upon a time was an actress on a popular soap opera. These days, however, she’s stuck working part-time as an ESL teacher; living in an apartment across the hall from her domineering mother; and trying to raise her precocious young son alone. Her soon-to-be-ex-hubby, a jerk of a successful actor, is fighting her over every penny and ignoring his fatherly duties. Kwitney (On the Couch, 2004, etc.) doesn’t skimp on the misery for poor Kat, who seems spectacularly ill-qualified to teach, preoccupied by her son, the divorce and the occasional audition. Nevertheless, at least a couple of her handsome foreign students fall for her: Luc, a French cowboy with a smoky air of superiority; and Magnus, a taciturn Icelander who has ulterior motives. Apparently Kat’s father, an unreliable sort with a penchant for communicating with her via cryptic notes, was in the espionage business for some years; Magnus has been enlisted to establish contact with him through the clueless daughter. Kwitney tries to go easy on the clichés of chick-lit, but she can’t resist humiliating her heroine at every possible opportunity. And there’s not much here to replace shopworn stereotypes. The absence of Kat’s friends for most of the book deprives it of much-needed perspective on her self-pitying point of view. Though numerous chapters are related from his perspective, Magnus remains a cipher until the end. Attempts to find a last-minute resolution are stilted at best.
Tepid and dull Manhattan romance.