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The Little Lady Agency Hardcover – February 7, 2006

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416514929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416514923
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sensible Melissa Romney-Jones proclaims to her enamored American client, Jonathan Riley, "I like to think I'm a vintage girl. A proper 1950s woman's woman," to which Riley responds: "A proper 1950s man's woman." Crackling with Brit chick wit, Browne's first novel stars a spunky whirlwind in search of love and money. Melissa, after losing her job as a London estate agent, starts the Little Lady Agency to attend to the social needs of single men. This requires Melissa to don a blonde wig and become Honey Blennerhesket, a posh "Mary Poppins in silk stockings." Running the new agency leads to the successful channeling of her inner glamour goddess and romance with Jonathan, but then she wonders, does he love Honey or Melissa? "Little lady" is a term that sounds as retro as Melissa's yearning for old-style romance, but her struggle to empower herself and deal with her feelings regarding the men in her life is as satisfying as free champagne. Browne's dead-on take revitalizes a genre already littered with worn-out Jimmy Choos and tattered miniskirts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Brown's charming debut finds Melissa -Romney--Jones losing yet another job, this time to layoffs due to a company merger. Out on the town with friends, Melissa runs into an old school acquaintance who is working for their old etiquette teacher as a companion for wealthy men. Melissa looks up the teacher and begins to schedule dates, but she's horrified to discover her old teacher is in fact running an escort service. Melissa quickly gets out of the business, but she's taken with the idea of a chaste version of it, and starts the Little Lady Agency to help socially clueless men and those merely in need of dates. Using the name Honey, Melissa accompanies one man to a family party, and helps another dump his girlfriend. She lands her biggest client in handsome American Jonathan, who just happens to be running the company she used to work for; but Melissa starts to wonder if she's losing her objectivity when she finds herself falling for Jonathan. A warm, winning tale. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Williams on April 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's been a while since I've found a book that I couldn't put down. Part of that may be how well I identified with the main character. The most pleasant surprise for me was how clean the story was. I enjoy reading the chick-lit beach books, but I don't like all of the sex that a lot of them have. This one was fantastic. I can't wait to read her next one; I hope it's an equally fun, clean read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Greene on April 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good freshman effort from a new writer, who manages to make a novel interesting and readable without resorting to steamy sex scenes (not that there's anything wrong with those). The book has a dry with about it, and the characters are nicely drawn. The most engaging bit about this novel is that the heroine assumes a different persona -- a stronger, smarter, more attractive version of herself -- and who amongst us would not like to do that successfully from time to time? It's enjoyable to watch her integrate the different facets of her personality and resolve her assertiveness issues.

The ending could have been a tad stronger, but all in all, this is a very pleasant way to while away an afternoon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Onie Wheeler on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on impulse at the airport due to its cute cover and the synopsis of the book and the book's author on the back of the book.

I know this statement is very puerile and vapid, but like the book's author, I collect red lipstick and etiquette books.

When I got back from my trip, I put it on my novel shelf since at the time, I was reading more "disturbing and deep" biographies and poetry that left me depressed.

Due to my reading too many depressing books (Sylvia Plath's books and poems are hardly high comedy), I decided to pick up this book in order to cheer myself up.

I found the book to be charming and I was also glad to find a contemporary book that was not full of graphic sex or violence.

I just love Melissa and her alter ego, Honey.

I was rooting for Jonathan and Melissa through the entire book.

And her father! What a jerk! I think his character is a great antagonist for poor Melissa!

I love the descriptions of Melissa's sisters. Allegra, the wilder sister and Emery, the vapid and shallow younger sister.

I do wish that Melissa's mother's character would be more developed, but I suppose that might stray from the author's intent.

I won't spoil the book's end, but it was cute and a paradox in all the right ways.

OK, this is not supposed to be "War and Peace" or even a Jacqueline Susann novel (Susann's novels are great, but always depress me).

The only "down side" I found at all is I do not like the title at all -- it gives the book a Old Lady flavor and it is far from that!

"The Little Lady Agency" it is just girly lit and fluffy as clouds on a beautiful summer day!

If you want a fun beach read or a feel good girly book, then I think you will love this.

Now I am off to order the sequel from Amazon: "Little Lady Big Apple"!

Oh yes, how about that Roger Trumpet's foul breath?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Williams on December 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I simply adored this book! The characters are vivid and real, and complex (but still normal). There are few books that I enjoy simply reading about the day-to-day life of the characters, and this was one of them.

Melissa does her best to be a good person, even though she isn't always appreciated for it, and she has to fight against her less than supportive family and her own issues of self perception to become a stronger, more confident woman. In the mix are her best friend and flat-mate Nelson (which, who wouldn't love to have a Nelson in their lives?), her somewhat flighty, but fun and loyal, other best-friend Gabi, a $10,000 debt to her father, and a series of dead-end jobs and boyfriends.

Melissa finally decides to start her own career in which she plans to help bachelor men sort out the finer details of their lives that need that womanly touch (what types of gifts to give, how to pick out a good wardrobe, the best way to dump a girlfriend). Little did Melissa know that the Little Lady wasn't going to just change the lives of her clients, but her own life as well. Assuming a work-identity, Honey (Melissa) is free to be more vivacious, more outspoken and more confident. And some of her clients are pretty great guys (especially one American who seems to unwittingly blur the lines between Melissa and Honey).

There are so many layers to this story, and I loved the character arcs as much as the ins and outs of the Little Lady Agency. The book is funny, fun, sweet, endearing, and purely enjoyable. If I'm being super picky, there were a few plot ends that I felt weren't wrapped up as clearly as I would have liked, but that could be because (happily) there are sequels.

I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a chick-lit with depth, a comedy with heart, or a romance for the modern era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julieosis on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Melissa Romney-Jones is underappreciated in her time. She has amazing organization skills that are exceptionally underutilized in her job, and this fact is confirmed when she is fired out of the blue. Not that it comes to a huge surprise for Melissa. After all, she's pretty used to being fired by now.

The firing however comes at a very bad time for her. Melissa's sister is getting married and Melissa had a goal of being able to pay off her debt to her overbearing, nasty father by that time, and now with no job that prospect is looking pretty grim.

After meeting an old school chum at a bar by chance, Melissa has a job prospect but quickly realizes it is not what she expected. Realizing that she could do this job much better than her school chum and in a less...illegal way, she decides to take the plunge and opens her own business, The Little Lady Agency. She only had to sell her car, buy a wig, pretend to be someone she's not, and fall head over heels for one of her clients...maybe her skills as an organizer are limited after all. Melissa soon finds out that while she's genius at organizing others' lives she's not so great at organizing her own.

"The Little Lady Agency" sounded intriguing from the back cover, so I decided to give it a shot. I have to say I was...impressed with Browne's writing style. While I liked the main character Melissa very much, there were times when I just wanted to slap her and scream: "get with it sister!" For someone who is so organized and well-meaning Melissa is naïve, over-trusting, and exceptionally simplistic at times. As much as "Little Lady Agency" was about Melissa finding love, it was as much about learning a life lesson, that she has control over her own future.

Overall, I found Browne's characters exceptionally deep for chicklit, and I cannot wait to read the sequel to find out what happens to Melissa, Jonathan, and "The Little Lady Agency."
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