Just Friends

Robyn Sisman, Author Ballantine Books $23.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-345-44228-4
As she did in her previous novel, Perfect Strangers, published in Britain but not here, Sisman in her new novel focuses on singles life and the quest of 30-somethings for Mr. or Ms. Right. Freya Penrose, an energetic, trendy British transplant working in a Manhattan art gallery, believes she is on the verge of becoming engaged to longtime boyfriend and apartment-mate Michael Petersen, a lawyer whose stodgy outlook on life contrasts with Freya's more spontaneous approach. When their ""romantic"" dinner turns out to be a cool brush-off, a stunned Freya is forced to find a new home. Jack Madison, a promising writer and poker buddy whom Freya has known for 10 years, offers to share his apartment until Freya finds a new place. Freya's best friend Cat advises against it, declaring, ""All men are pigs,"" but Freya insists she and Jack are like brother and sister. Jack, who has been stuck writing his novel for three years, ekes out a living teaching creative writing and subsists on an allowance from his wealthy, womanizing father. The two old friends take separate paths to love--Jack dates one of his students, Freya turns to the personals ads--and each finds themselves sabotaging the others' romantic efforts. When Jack volunteers to accompany Freya to her stepsister's wedding in the U.K., the nuptials bring up emotions that challenge the characters' integrity. Even Cat weighs in with a surprise of her own that forces Freya to reassess her life. With a dash of British humor and an adroit insight into family relationships and what really makes love work, Sisman's latest offering has what it takes. (Jan. 2) Forecast: There's much interest in this title: film rights already belong to Warner Brothers and David Heymann, and foreign rights have been sold in 15 countries. Perfect Strangers sold 150,000 copies in the U.K.; with an appropriate push from Ballantine, this one should do well both there and here.
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 394 pages - 978-0-385-65809-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 592 pages - 978-0-7704-2870-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-345-44227-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 280 pages - 978-0-345-45488-1
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-385-67221-4
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