cover image The Art of French Kissing

The Art of French Kissing

Kristin Harmel, . . Grand Central/5 Spot, $13.99 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-446-58143-1

Harmel’s (The Blonde Theory ) formulaic continental romance too often falls short of funny. When media professional Emma Sullivan is dumped by her fiancé the same week she’s laid off from Boy Bandz records, she quickly accepts an offer from Poppy, an old friend from Europe, who hires her to handle press for the English-language launch of Guillaume Riche, a French TV star turned sexy singer. So Emma jets off to Paris, and Poppy is soon giving Emma lessons in dating French men. Meanwhile, Guillaume turns out to be an eccentric pill, causing havoc for Emma by pulling public stunts that run contrary to the saintly do-gooder image Poppy has been carefully crafting. Most of the media accept Emma’s spin on Guillaume’s eccentricities, but one very attractive reporter is annoyingly persistent about finding the real facts and, eventually, romancing Emma. While descriptive passages show Harmel’s knowledge of Paris, the Guillaume conflict feels manufactured, and Emma’s romantic disasters are too predictable to be truly comic. (Feb.)