In the late 1990s, right after Bridget Jones took the world by storm, it seemed everywhere you looked, her pals were crowding the bookshelves as well. Here are some of my personal favorites from the backlist. If you’ve still got some on the shelf, why not dig them out of your fiction collection for a quick display?
What can be worse than having your widowed father marry the blond bombshell from your high school class who used to bully you? This is one of the things that happens to beauty columnist Rebecca Fine in Apocalipstick by Sue Margolis. Along the way she falls in and out of love, deals with a prying Gramma, and scoops a major beauty news scandal.
The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne is so charming it’s spawned 2 sequels. When Melissa finds herself out of work and bored, she decides to start her own business, lending her skills to single men in need of those tasks only a woman can perform—picking out clothing, buying gifts,going to company parties. To keep her personal and professional lives separate she takes on a new persona and becomes London’s most sought-after bachelorette.
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married is probably one of my favorite Marian Keyes novels. A fortune teller predicts Lucy will be married within a year, but with no romantic prospects in her life, Lucy is pretty skeptical. All of a sudden, she starts meeting all kinds of eligible men… but which one is right for her? Family issues with her alcoholic father complicate her life further.
Those who only know Jane Green’s more recent titles might be surprised to see that her earlier output was sheer chick lit. In Jemima J, overweight and plain Jemima is the office ugly duckling. Desperate to gain the confidence to get to know her cute workmate, she starts off with Internet dating, figuring she can gain some social skills while hiding behind an online persona. When her American online pal wants to meet, she embarks on a rigorous makeover. A delightful look at the cultural differences (and similarities) between America and Great Britain.
In A Married Man by Catherine Alliot, widowed Lucy moves her children from London to Oxford on her in-law’s insistence, to live at the family estate. There, she falls for a married man and has to take stock of her life. Enjoyable characters and a good story round this one out.