The Man For Maggie
by Lee McKenzie
(Harl. American. #1167, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-373-75171-0
***
This is a quirky romance. If you like quirkiness, you will enjoy this. If you find this irritating, you will not. A Man for Maggie reads a little like an old Doris Day comedy or at times, like an episode of Desperate Housewives. Either fits the description.

Maggie Meadowcroft is named after her great-aunt, and loved her like a grandmother. She has inherited her house in Collingwood Station, Connecticut and has plans to turn the old Victorian home into a spa called Inner Beauty. Maggie is from New York (but it was never clear what she did there) and her mother is an ex-hippie who has a shop in Greenwich Village that sells love potions and tarot readings. Maggie believes in everything organic, loves the quiet of the bedside community, has the ability to sense things in people and oh,yes…she hears her dead aunt talking to her. She is an eternal optimist and quirky is the word that describes her.

Enter Nick Durrance, of the very uppity and rich Durrance family. Nick is the black sheep, having shunned the world of investment, Harvard and the country club to open a contracting business and be a real world tradesman. His sister Leslie and he have a strained relationship and his mother generally acts as if he doesn’t exist, unless she is trying to lecture him to come to his senses. He has one friend from his high school days who is in business with him. His old girlfriend Alison is married to another friend, John, and they live next door to Maggie, with two kids and a less than wonderful marriage. A friend of Alison is Candace, who is divorced from hubby number three and would love to get Nick (or any man) in the sack. The people in this story are rich, snobby and seem to do a lot of bed hopping – or at least implied bed hopping.

Basically the storyline follows the renovations in Maggie’s house that Nick and his partner are performing. Leslie is getting married to someone with “the Third” behind his name that Nick can’t stand and his friend Brent is pining for Leslie. Maggie decides she wants to help Nick get back with his family and increase his sense of confidence about his career decision; she wants to help Alison and John realize they love each other and in order to make it all come together, she needs to help Candace find true love. She enlists the help of her mother for some love potions and uses her own special magic of falling in love with Nick.

McKenzie has a nice writing style where the story flows and the humor is almost tongue in cheek. This is a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, thus making it work. Maggie is almost too naïve and optimistic to be anything but cute. At times, I found myself scratching my head, asking if she could really believe the stuff she was doing. Nick is just a nice guy, trying to muddle through his feelings of attraction and wondering how he got in the situations he did. He was a tad patronizing at times when he would say that he could accept that Maggie believed she was talking to her aunt, so it was okay even if it wasn’t true. If that had gone on too long, he would have gone down a notch on the hero scale.

If you are looking for comedic and slightly off-center romance, grab A Man For Maggie. If you are looking for something a little more serious, go elsewhere.

--Shirley Lyons


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