The Kissing Game
Warner, 2003 (2003)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas
llegra Nesbitt is not pleased to be forced to come to London to make her come-out. Her father, the highly notorious prankster Oxie Nesbitt, has a penchant for wreaking merry havoc wherever he goes. Inevitably Oxie made a vastly memorable and significantly disastrous impression on the high-and-mighty sticklers of London society, when he and his wife (an ordinary country woman) first graced London five years before, on the momentous and unexpected occasion of Oxie becoming the new Earl of Sunderland. Allegra, the one sensible, educated and capable person in the crazy Nesbitt family, knows very well that the close-knit, snobbish London society will never ever forget the debacle of her parents' visit, and feels nothing but contempt for their narrow-minded attitude.
ll her predictions are proved true, as even after a week after their arrival at their Grosvenor Square mansion, not a single invitation to the countless London parties and galas graces their mantel. But then surprisingly, the dashing and mysterious Armand Gauthier sends them a coveted invitation to his ball. A man with an unknown past, the sinfully handsome Gauthier is an enigma, upon whom London society fawns. Allegra suspects some nefarious purpose behind the invitation and starts investigating Gauthier. Before long, they're fast friends (or so Allegra is determined to believe), involved in a pact to help each other out. In the meantime Oxie is up to his tricks, once again wreaking havoc in London; Allegra's timid mother refuses to come out of her room and face society; Allegra's cousin Elizabeth (more matrimonially inclined than Allegra herself) continually bemoans their lack of invitations; and then there is Letty, their new, omnipresent and all-knowing housekeeper, who is one person not intimidated by the loony Nesbitts. Since Gauthier is up to tricks of his own, pretty soon society is plagued with conspiracies, tricks and jokes.
asey Michaels has written historicals, romances, mysteries and comedies, all of which make for light and enjoyable reading. But by far, Ms. Michaels excels in the humor that is an integral part of all her books.
The Kissing Game
is a very good example of her flair for romantic comedy, good for a barrelful of laughs. The setting is Regency London, with the requisite balls and gossipy society - nothing new or very exciting there. The bare plot is not unusual and even the slight mystery angle is sidelined by the humor in the story. By setting up Oxie Nesbitt as a chronic practical joker, the author has created ample opportunities for funny moments. The supporting characters are in fact more interesting than the main protagonists. Besides the romance (which involves some pretty steamy scenes) between Allegra and Armand, there is a secondary (and highly goofy) love story involving Allegra's cousin Elizabeth and Armand's skeletally thin friend, Boothe.
s. Michaels is adept at weaving a sensual romantic tale and she does it with 9lan in this book. In short, readers can laugh their hearts out at, and not worry their heads over,
The Kissing Game
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