From Publishers Weekly
Predictable plot turns and humorless puns abound in Holden's superficial satire (after Gossip Hound, etc.), which starts out as a promising tale of a smalltown reporter's attempt to break out of her sleepy English hometown and quickly devolves into a colorful but cliched farce crowded with outlandish caricatures and unlikely goings-on. Kate Clegg, the slightly plump senior reporter for the Slackmucklewaite Mercury (more often referred to as "the Mockery"), longs to have the exciting life of a London reporter, but barring that, she'll settle for covering sleepy stories by day and penning her racy book, Northern Gigolo, by night. Aspiring actor Nat Hardstone, the gorgeous son of her callous new boss, may be the answer to one of her more scandalous dreams. Not only does he want to shake the dust of Slackmucklewaite off his shoes, but he wants to take her with him to the Côte d'Azur for the Cannes Film Festival. Though it's obvious that Nat is as shallow and scheming as his father-he makes her foot the bill at a fancy restaurant and then presses her to front the money for his plane ticket-Kate rides his coattails to the south of France and is promptly abandoned. But with the help of a few friendly strangers, she finds love and scandal in a French town eerily similar to the English one she just left. By the end of the novel, Kate is as clueless as when she started her unlikely adventure, and readers will have as little sympathy for her as they do for Nat and his impossibly small-minded acquaintance, Champagne D'vyne.
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Holden's latest novel is like a daydream--people's words and actions are often unrealistic, scenarios are over-the-top, and unlikely events are contrived for the sole purpose of fulfilling the dreamer's fantasies. That said, those looking for a fun, fluffy read will enjoy this tale of Bridget Jones-like journalist Kate Clegg, who, after toiling for years as a reporter for the Slackmucklethwaite Mercury
(or, as locals not-so-affectionately call it, the Mockery
), thinks she's finally off to cover the Cannes Film Festival. After her boss' would-be actor son seduces Kate in order to trick her into putting up plane fare to France for the both of them, naive Kate finds herself in a small village outside Cannes with almost no money left and possibly no job to come home to. At her grandmother's urging, Kate decides to look upon this disaster as an opportunity for grand adventure and stays in France, finding work as a maid for an elderly art lover, a freelance reporter for an English-language paper, and a waitress. Twists and turns abound, along with hefty doses of mystery and romance, in this (as the title would suggest) pun-filled story. Holden, who has been mining the British-working-gal subgenre through several successful novels--Gossip Hound
(2003), Farm Fatale
(2002), Bad Heir Day
(2001)--seems ready for a leap to the next level of mainstream popularity. Beth LeistensniderCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved