cover image The Importance of Being Married

The Importance of Being Married

Gemma Townley, Author . Ballantine $13 (337p) ISBN 978-0-345-4

Townley (Little White Lies ) misses the mark with this chronicle of the tangled web spun by Jessica Wild and her cohorts after Jessica unexpectedly inherits a fortune. After befriending Grace Hampton, a kindly woman at a nursing home, single workaholic Jessica fibs to her hopeful friend, saying she's dating—and eventually married to—advertising giant Anthony Milton. Upon Grace's death, Jessica discovers that she, or rather, Mrs. Milton, is the heir to Grace's vast fortune. A clause in the will states that she has 50 days to claim her newfound riches. Rather than admit her lie, Jessica decides to try and get Anthony to marry her. So begins a whisper-thin plot that involves a high-paid escort who teaches Jessica tricks (like pushing her cleavage out) and a matchmaker who advises Jessica to “play hardball.” After a couple of dates, Anthony caves, and the second half of the book is eaten up by wedding planning and Jessica's pining for Anthony's friend. A salvo of screwball surprises explode in the third act, but these only help sink the book. (July)