From the bestselling author of two of the loveliest, funniest novels of the last decade comes "Just Friends", a fresh romantic comedy that wittily dissects love, friendship and the true meaning of compatibility. Freya and Jack are just friends - which is fine until she moves temporarily into his New York apartment. Jack is a spoilt Southern ...
From the bestselling author of two of the loveliest, funniest novels of the last decade comes "Just Friends", a fresh romantic comedy that wittily dissects love, friendship and the true meaning of compatibility. Freya and Jack are just friends - which is fine until she moves temporarily into his New York apartment. Jack is a spoilt Southern playboy sporting an unfinished novel and a girlfriend with a tongue-stud; Freya is a tall English blonde with attitude and a knack for choosing the wrong man. The strain of living together threatens to end their friendship, but then Jack escorts Freya to Cornwall for the wedding of her younger sister. Could intimacy breed romance? Or do they know each other far too well to fall in love?
Freya is a thirty-something, Britain-born, artist protégé. Her story begins as she prepares for what she thinks will be her engagement dinner with her boyfriend Michael, who she's been living with for a while - he's got the credentials - he's an attorney and even though he doesn't exactly make Freya's heart "sing" - she figures the time is right - but it's not to be, Michael has actually called for this dinner in order to break up with Freya, for he feels as she does - that their relationship is lacking.
American-born Jack is also in his thirties and unmarried and is a full-time author. He doesn't have to work thanks to the monthly allowance he gets from his Dad, but Jack sometimes teaches a Creative Writing course and is currently dating a student - Jack likes playing the field.
Freya & Jack became friends years ago when they met in NYC and they've stayed in touch, usually whenever Frey decides to show up at one of his macho almost-boys-only poker nights at his home. When Freya's on the street thanks to her breakup, Jack reluctantly lets Freya stay at his place. Freya decides to try her hand a love again when she meets a young actor and they hit it off. In fact they even decide on a double date with Jack & his student, but later on, when Freya brings the guy back to Jack's place, the close proximity to Jack & his student are too much for him to handle and he leaves rather abruptly.
Freya is also in another dilemma - her step-sister's wedding back in England is coming up and she hates the idea of going alone so she decides to check out the personal ads and see if she can come up with any prospects. She uses Jack's computer though, and when he finds out, he decides to make cyber-dating a little more interesting for Freya! When no one really pans out, Jack decides to accompany her under the guise that they are boyfriend & girlfriend. Her parents actually put them up in the same room and Freya and Jack haggle about who's going to get the bed! The visit brings out some feelings in Freya for Jack, but she's afraid to take it any further. She starts to see him from different eyes as he plays the role of her boyfriend to a tee. Even Jack is beginning to look at Freya differently.
Despite the interesting story line, this story was kind of dry - I kind of had to force myself to continue reading it. I think my problem with this book centers on Freya - she's kind of cold. She's always second-guessing everyone's motives and it was hard for me to develop the warmth that I need to feel in order to really invest in a character's story. Even though this wasn't my favorite book, I do believe that Robyn Sisman has talent - I especially liked her descriptions of woe that an author can feel when experiencing writer's block and how intimidating the publishing industry can be. She also drew beautifully descriptive images of the English countryside, but the main characters just didn't inspire much warmth from me. The one relationship that did interest me was that of Freya's ex-boyfriend Michael - he winds out finding love where he would have least expected it and I liked the descriptions given regarding how those two felt about each other more than the story between the two main characters.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-18 As she did in her previous novel, Perfect Strangers, published in Britain but not here, Sisman in her new novel focuses on singles life and the quest of 30-somethings for Mr. or Ms. Right. Freya Penrose, an energetic, trendy British transplant working in a Manhattan art gallery, believes she is on the verge of becoming engaged to longtime boyfriend and apartment-mate Michael Petersen, a lawyer whose stodgy outlook on life contrasts with Freya's more spontaneous approach. When their "romantic" dinner turns out to be a cool brush-off, a stunned Freya is forced to find a new home. Jack Madison, a promising writer and poker buddy whom Freya has known for 10 years, offers to share his apartment until Freya finds a new place. Freya's best friend Cat advises against it, declaring, "All men are pigs," but Freya insists she and Jack are like brother and sister. Jack, who has been stuck writing his novel for three years, ekes out a living teaching creative writing and subsists on an allowance from his wealthy, womanizing father. The two old friends take separate paths to love?Jack dates one of his students, Freya turns to the personals ads?and each finds themselves sabotaging the others' romantic efforts. When Jack volunteers to accompany Freya to her stepsister's wedding in the U.K., the nuptials bring up emotions that challenge the characters' integrity. Even Cat weighs in with a surprise of her own that forces Freya to reassess her life. With a dash of British humor and an adroit insight into family relationships and what really makes love work, Sisman's latest offering has what it takes. (Jan. 2) Forecast: There's much interest in this title: film rights already belong to Warner Brothers and David Heymann, and foreign rights have been sold in 15 countries. Perfect Strangers sold 150,000 copies in the U.K.; with an appropriate push from Ballantine, this one should do well both there and here. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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