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PARTY GIRL by Sarah Mason


by Sarah Mason

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-46956-9
Publisher: Ballantine

Single London party planner has mixed feelings when tapped to arrange a charity ball at the country estate she once called home.

Isabel “Izzy” Serranti has a cool job planning events, a preoccupation with her weight and a male best friend who may or may not be gay. She is also haunted by a childhood friendship that ended badly for no good reason she can think of. As a young girl she spent several magical years living in a cottage on the beautiful Pantiles estate in the English countryside. She and Pantiles heir Simon Monkwell were inseparable best friends until the day Simon mysteriously turned on her and initiated a bullying reign of terror that ceased only after her family moved away. Flash forward 15 years: Simon is all grown up, with a bad reputation as a heartless mergers-and-acquisitions shark. Isabel is both intrigued and filled with dread at the thought of revisiting the familiar estate to organize a circus-themed bash on its grounds. Simon himself is in America arranging a hostile takeover when she arrives, so she reconnects with his family, including his aged father Monty, handsome younger brother Will and sticky-fingered Aunt Flo. When the two finally meet, Simon is standoffish. After Isabel discovers that she might have accidentally ruined his latest business deal by slipping some crucial information about Simon to her caddish ex, she decides to help Simon save his business, along with his ancestral home. What follows is a very silly country weekend spent trying to win over assorted American investors as everything falls apart. An errant pet tarantula goes “walkabout,” a grumpy cook with issues disappears and would-be lovers find themselves locked in cupboards.

Mason (Society Girls, June 2005, etc.) adds a warm familial tone to the eccentric proceedings in this featherweight Brit-chick romp.