cover image LITTLE WHITE LIES: A Novel of Love and Good Intentions

LITTLE WHITE LIES: A Novel of Love and Good Intentions

Gemma Townley, . . Ballantine, $12.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-345-46757-7

Natalie Raglan would fancy a more glamorous, exciting life, but despite a recent move to London, her days are far from thrilling—and her nights are spent slogging through Thackeray's Vanity Fair . As in Townley's When in Rome... (2004), one impulsive indiscretion has rippling consequences for a bouncy (but soulful!) heroine. Natalie, tempted by the growing mound of unopened letters meant for her flat's previous tenant, the dazzling Cressida, soon finds herself opening Cressida's mail, then attending Cressida's parties and finally going on Cressida's dates. The world Natalie always hoped for becomes a reality—the only price she has to pay is that she has to pretend to be Cressida. But when sparks fly between her and hunky investment banker Simon Rutherford, Natalie finds her little white lies have gotten out of control; she can fool Simon, but can she fool Cressida's godmother, who's coming back from India to catch up with Cressida and her old pals, the Rutherfords? Poor Natalie: she's just like conniving Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair (which she finally finished). Well, really, she's a pale imitation, but she's sympathetic and likable enough. And while astute readers will see the happy ending coming from miles away, they'll still root for Natalie and her efforts to make the life she always dreamed about. Agent, Jennifer Callaghan at Dorie Simmonds. (Mar.)