Red Dress Ink, May 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Angie DiFranco, a single, thirty-one year old actor living in New York City, is starting to feel slightly panicked about her unmarried state. She has the lead role in a children's exercise program, Rise and Shine, on cable access, but that isn't really the ticket to stardom for her. In reality, Angie's success in her acting career is somewhat complicated by the fact she bears a striking resemblance to Marisa Tomei. Her romantic relationships aren't all she would like, either.
Angie's last three boyfriends ended up marrying the girls they dated following her. Angie and her girlfriends, Michelle, Doreen, and Roberta, aka "the committee," have developed the theory of the "lid loosener". You know, when you try to open a jar and it won't open, then you give it to someone else and it just pops right off. Translated to the romantic arena, woman number one issues the marriage ultimatum, man runs from woman number one to woman number two who he marries. Hence, Angie was the lid loosener for Vincent, Randy and Josh.
Angie is currently dating Kirk Stevens, who she believes has had his lid loosened by his former girlfriend Susan, which puts her at the advantage of being the woman Kirk will marry. So far, the theory is a success and everything is falling into place with Kirk, until she is invited to meet his parents. Kirk takes Angie home to Newton, Massachusetts for the christening of his sister's baby. Angie finds herself sitting on the sofa under the Stevens family portrait which includes Kirk's former girlfriend, Susan, and begins to wonder if she is ready for marriage into this family. Justin, Angie's roommate, a film maker turned musician, patiently observes her attempts to reel Kirk into marriage. However, when Kirk and Angie break up following a disastrous ring shopping experience, Justin tries to console her with soul kisses that leave her reeling.
ENGAGING MEN is a my second novel in the chick lit genre, my first being BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. I found it well-written and terribly funny, especially the Bernadette the Azalea scene. That's all I'm saying; to get more you will have to read the book for yourself. This story features a solid cast, snappy dialogue, and is filled with the hilarious struggles and insecurities of a lovable heroine. If you are looking for a traditional, old fashioned romance this might not be the book for you. But if you are looking for an enjoyable and fun novel, ENGAGING MEN is a great read. I believe Angie's emotional adventures will strike a cord with women of all ages. I was surprised and delighted with the ending and I highly recommend this novel.
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