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The Art of French Kissing    by Kristin Harmel Amazon.com order for
Art of French Kissing
by Kristin Harmel
Order:  USA  Can
5 Spot, 2008 (2008)
Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Kristen Harmel's The Art of French Kissing takes place mostly in Paris, and there are some beautiful descriptions of the city. The heroine, Emma, stays in an apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower in a neighborhood that was familiar to this reader. Knowing exactly where she was, when she was having her little adventures dating Frenchmen and seeing the sights, was entertaining.

At the beginning of the story Emma Sullivan, living in Orlando, Florida, is suddenly dumped by her fiancÚ and by her job. She discovers that her fiancÚ has taken up with one of her erstwhile bridesmaids and her two other former friends think that there's nothing wrong with that. Her sister blames Emma for the breakup and seems to think that if this marriage falls through she'll be a worthless old maid. The apartment where Emma lives is owned by the creep who dumped her, who first says she can stay there as long as she wants to, and then wants to know how soon she can leave. When her British friend Poppy calls her from Paris and offers her a job, Emma jumps at the chance.

Poppy really needs help in her job of trying to promote a rock star who seems dedicated to destroying the public persona that Poppy has created for him. Emma has been called in to replace Poppy's former employee who left in disgust at the shenanigans performed by the rock star. Emma seems to do a really good job at helping Poppy extricate him from his difficult situations. Meanwhile, she finds herself strangely attracted to one of the media mob that descends on the rock star whenever there's a whiff of scandal.

Emma, however, is just one huge bundle of insecurity. Her fiancÚ walked all over her, even before he dumped her. Her sister, who has a three-year-old child who acts like an infant, lectures her and thinks that she should forgive her fiancÚ for having an affair with her bridesmaid because he made just one little mistake. Emma seems unable to stick up for herself with either of these people, even to tell her sister that it wasn't her idea to break the engagement. Her exploits in Paris are entertaining, but Emma continues to worry that she can't do anything right. All in all, the story, while it moves right along and provides a delightful view of Paris, would have been more entertaining had Emma shown just a little more backbone.

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