by Wendy Wax

September 2005
ISBN: 0-553-58795-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Author Wendy Wax has a way with titles, and her newest book, Hostile Makeover, is no exception. Since I had never read any of her books before, I assumed that I would be getting a dose of humor with my romance. I did get plenty of chuckles, but I also got a lot more.

Shelley Schwartz is an occasional employee at her father’s Atlanta PR firm. Whenever she can fit it into her social calendar, she stops by the office for a little while. This generally happens between salon appointments and power shopping lunches. She really does want to be taken more seriously, though, and has a lot of great ideas for her clients. The only trouble is that “something” always comes up and she misses a meeting, a deadline or other event. In short - Shelley is self-sabotaging.

Her life is about to take a sharp turn, when her father has a heart attack and turns over the reins of the company to Ross Morgan, the disgustingly attractive marketing guru who has been his right-hand man. When Ross isn’t rubbing Shelley the wrong way, she is thinking about how he could be rubbing her - that is just SO wrong! The man thinks she has the IQ of a turnip, for crying out loud! Well, she is going to show him that she is a competent, capable and creative advertising manager who can work miracles with the dead-end accounts on her list.

Coupled with Shelley’s professional about-face, her perfect sister, Judy, is having a few soul-searching moments of her own. Shelley’s mother is relentlessly throwing Jewish men into Shelley’s path, and her best-friend Nina has decided to convert so she can date the cast-offs. When being a “real” working girl puts Shelley into very close contact with Ross, her moods start swinging from lust to homicide. Even her therapist is entertained.

I never expected to be so hooked on this coming-of-age romance. The characters are vivid and endearing, right down to elderly Aunt Sonya. The pace of the book is swift but not rushed. There are quite a few turns to keep the reader guessing, and the ending had some unexpected layers. If you want an entertaining book with surprising depths, Hostile Makeover would be a great choice.

Reviewed in August 2005 by Paula.

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