cover image The Importance of Being Alice

The Importance of Being Alice

Katie MacAlister. Signet, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-47137-6

MacAlister’s first Ainslie Brothers contemporary is witty, charming, and erotically tender, although plagued with one subplot too many. Alice Wood’s aggravating fiancé, Patrick, dumps her right before a planned trip, and Alice bravely decides to go by herself. Unfortunately, she finds on arrival that she will not be alone on her romantic river cruise through Europe—Patrick gave away his ticket. Baron Elliott Ainslie, manager of his family’s estate, just wants a quiet place to write a book away from his 11 siblings, crumbling castle, and chaotic finances. But sharing a cabin and tour group with the vivacious and attractive Alice seems likely to distract him completely. MacAlister (You Slay Me) inexplicably throws in an espionage element that serves only to detract from the sparkling romance. Alice and Elliott are endearing, and the comedic potential of the situation is played to the hilt. This confection only rarely falls off the edge between silly and too silly; most of it is a treat. (Jan.)