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Boring Brit remakes herself to snag a hubby and land a fortune.

Jessica Wild is anything but wild. It’s definitely all work and no play for this mousy ad executive, who keeps long hours at the office in an effort to pay off her debts and get ahead in the business world. Jessica, who was raised in a modest home by her surly grandmother, has always been self-reliant. As an adult, her serious nature has turned her into a serious loner. Her only pals are her flatmate and an aging dowager named Grace whom Jessica befriends at her grandmother’s nursing home. The dotty old granny adopts Jessica and encourages her to add some romance into her life. To please the pushy granny, Jessica invents a boyfriend and ends up having an imaginary elopement. When Grace dies, Jessica is shocked to find that she’s been left four million pounds in Grace’s will. But there’s a catch. The money is bequeathed to Jessica Milton (the surname of her imaginary husband). In order to get her inheritance check, Jessica decides to marry her boss, Anthony Milton, for his name. Only problem: Anthony has never expressed interest in her. Jessica and her flatmate dream up “Project Marriage”: a step-by-step plan to make Anthony fall in love with Jessica in 50 days. As Jessica gets closer to marching down the aisle, she starts to doubt her ability to marry solely for money. The book gets off to a smashing start, and throughout the tone is fresh and sassy. The tale briefly disappoints when Townley (The Hopeless Romantic’s Handbook, 2007, etc.) turns to the hackneyed makeover theme (all it takes is a good haircut, highlights and high heels to get a man). Yet despite a handful of all-too-familiar plot twists, Townley’s wit and zany characters make this a splendid read.

Chipper Cinderella tale for the modern woman.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-345-49980-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2008