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Party of Three    by Joan Kilby order for
Party of Three
by Joan Kilby
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

This is a very funny, lighthearted romance featuring a woman who is anal about her daily routines, a divorced chef, and his twelve-year-old son. Ally Cummings lives with her fiancÚ as the story opens, but does not love him or plan to marry him. She keeps getting involved with men who are orderly and responsible and ... BORING, and eventually falls out of love with each one. She finds out by accident that her current fiancÚ is having an affair with his secretary that's been going on for months. Angry but relieved at the same time, Ally kicks him out but soon after this humiliating experience she also finds herself out of a job. What's a girl to do?

Ben Gillard, chef of brand new restaurant Mangos, and his 12-year-old son live in a really run-down apartment. Ben now has full custody of Danny, because Danny's mother just re-married and is off on her honeymoon in Bali. After Ally meets Ben, she offers to let him stay with her temporarily until he finds a new home, and it doesn't take long for sparks to fly. This is one of the funniest Superromances I've read in a long time. Between Ally's idiosyncrasies (e.g. every morning she taps her barometer to see the day's forecast, and has a fit when one day Ben taps it for her) and Ben's problems at the restaurant (his staff's antics will have readers laughing out loud), the book delivers one funny scene after another.

The story reminded me a little of Bridget Jones' Diary. Though it takes place in Australia, not England, Ally's parents are as hilarious as Bridget's were, and Ally's personality quirks endear her to the reader. I recommend Party of Three for its humor as well as the cute romance between Ben and Ally. If there were a sequel, I would definitely read it.

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