cover image Little Lady, Big Apple

Little Lady, Big Apple

Hester Browne, . . Pocket, $23 (360pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-1493-0

As readers of The Little Lady Agency know, Melissa Romney-Jones makes her living by offering helpless London bachelors "every girlfriend service a man could need, except sex and laundry." Her clients know her only as Honey Blennerhesket, but her up-and-coming American realtor boyfriend, Jonathan Riley, loves the real Melissa. His invitation for her to stay with him in New York for a month sets up the action in this delightful, Atlantic-straddling sequel. Melissa is initially unsure about the holiday—business is booming and her personal life is overflowing with drama—but she is soon noshing on bagels and strolling through Central Park. Jonathan begins making noise about getting engaged, but what would happen to Melissa's beloved agency? An observant and witty narrator, Melissa provides a grab bag of nifty outsider observations (Kate's Paperie is "a vast temple to stationery-based politeness"; an Upper East Side apartment building is "more lavishly appointed than most London hotel bars"), though Americans' dialogue can come off a bit stiffly British. Browne's series (a sequel is not so subtly hinted) is a bright spot in a bloated genre. (Feb.)