by JoAnn Hornak

October 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20548-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Trade Paperback

It isn't always easy to be single and never married at forty-one, fat least for Samantha Jacobs. She has a demanding job writing for "Tres Chic" magazine, but she has to deal with her widowed mother and well meaning friends. Samantha almost got married a little over three years ago, but her fiance' David, broke off the engagement just three months before the wedding.

After reading statistics that it would be more likely for an over forty woman to win a seven figure lottery than get married for the first time, Samantha's boss sets her on a mission to prove this theory wrong. Of course, the story will do wonders for the magazine's sales. Samantha becomes the "Mystery Woman", who must get married by December and is shipped off to Milwaukee; a far cry from New York and all she knows. Samantha jumps into the dating scene by trying personal ads, group dating and video dating, with often hilarious results.

Despite her many misadventures, Samantha does meet two men who are each attractive in special ways. Robert is a widower, about her age, professional and sensitive. Javier is a younger man; a roofer by day and a dance instructor by night. Javier teaches Samantha salsa dancing, which makes her feel free. Samantha faces her deadline and a dilemma of how to handle matters of the heart.

Samantha is a believable and engaging heroine, who has her career, but is torn about letting love and relationships pass her by. Many other characters say she is too "picky", but she does not want to just "settle". Javier is charming and most women's dream of who they would want if they were brave enough to love a younger man. Robert is a workaholic, but has his own charms. The other characters are well fleshed out with zippy dialog and wry humor.

Romances with humor have become very popular and this novel is a great example of why this genre continues to flourish. At the end of a busy day, we all want something that will entertain us and lift our spirits.

Reviewed in March 2006 by Roberta.

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