cover image Fast Friends

Fast Friends

Jill Mansell. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3236-8

There’s enough melodrama packed in Mansell’s latest (following Miranda’s Big Mistake) to fill at least a quartet of tales, but despite the near-constant disasters, the story still ably pulls readers in. When teenager Camilla Stewart meets Loulou Marks and Roz Vallender at boarding school, little does she realize that the threads of their lives are destined to tangle for years to come. After bumping into Loulou, now a wine bar owner, and Roz, a TV show host, in Harrods, housewife and mother Camilla invites them to dinner—only to find out that her husband, Jack, is having a torrid affair with Roz. After dumping a pot of chrysanthemums over Jack’s head, she leaves the kids with him and moves in with Loulou. Through Loulou, she meets Italian pop star Nico Coletto, with whom she promptly falls in love—not that it does her any immediate good, because Mansell throws in a bevy of crises, including two unexpected pregnancies, an impulsive marriage, and a death to keep them apart until the end of the book. Despite bearing a marked resemblance to an afternoon soap opera, Mansell’s novel offers diverting fun. Agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency. (Jan.)