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?
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As the blurb and the book jacket make clear, for a man and woman to be "just friends" is as likely as pigs flying. However, Freya and Jack, the chief characters of Robyn Sisman's story Just Friends, have managed this unlikely feat for over 10 years--until they are forced to act as a couple. Although Sisman sets up a scenario that seems obvious to the reader but, in an age-old tradition, is hidden from the characters, the anticipation of the romance still titillates.
After a schlep through the trials of Freya's life--all mounting up to the failure she will appear when she arrives at her step-sister's wedding without a handsome hunk (read also intelligent, witty, rich, charming etc...)--the reader is rewarded with a page-turning story line. Sisman makes a geographical leap that matches the emotional gymnastics of Freya's heart, transferring the story from crowded and cosmopolitan New York to rurally idyllic Cornwall. Thankfully, the events in Cornwall act more as a scene setter for the resolution of the plot than as the final act itself: if Sisman had succumbed to a pastoral scene of true love, rather than an urban one of human confusion, our faith in her characters would have been destroyed. Here she ruminates on the nature of true love:
What was the secret of true love between a man and a woman, she wondered? Sex, certainly; romance, ideally; domestic stability, probably. Anything else? She shrugged: whatever it was, she hadn't found it yet.Sisman's novel shines in its keenness for honesty of character--each and every one is laid out with all their faults. Though slow at times, Just Friends has its moments, with the pace quickening when necessary. Perhaps, as Sisman hopes for with love, this is just a reflection of real life. -- Olivia Dickinson About the Author:
Robyn Sisman is the author of SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP ('Irresistible ... keeps you up until the small hours' Daily Telegraph), and PERFECT STRANGERS ('Perfect summer reading: heart-poundingly romantic and achingly funny' Company), both of which are published in Penguin. She lives near Bath with her husband and two children.
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