In the first book of Phillips's trilogy (The Bachelor) about the irresistible marriage-resistant Chandler brothers of rural Yorkshire Falls, N.Y., footloose foreign correspondent Roman got hooked, thanks to the ingenious plotting of his matchmaking mama. This follow-up focuses on the middle brother, Rick, a loving but broken-hearted divorcee determined to resist both mom's marriage plots and those of his admirers—roughly every single woman in town. To do so, Rick employs a counterplot involving equally commitment-shy Kendall Sutton, whom the playboy policeman rescues from a car mishap as she's fleeing her own wedding. But will the independent twosome, feigning coupledom to remove themselves from the matchmaking game, foil themselves by genuinely falling for each other? Of course. In fact, there's little in the way of surprise or suspense herein. The characters express astonishment at certain plot turns, but readers won't, as all devious deeds are broadcast miles in advance. Still, the brothers' considerable charisma makes up for many sins of style and substance. Those who like their romances fast 'n' frothy may well find this lightweight tale an appealing afternoon's diversion. (Jan.)
Forecast:Kelly Ripa picked The Bachelor for her book club last year, propelling it from #48,000 on Amazon's list to #2 in one day. Though Ripa may not pick The Playboy this time around, Phillips's sales will undoubtedly benefit from the prior exposure.
Release date: 01/01/2003