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The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro

The Flirt (2008)

by Kathleen Tessaro

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So I was messing about in my home library (something I do a lot) and I decided that I would organize my collecting a little. I would collect an author from each letter of the alphabet. I don't know why but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I had started out pretty well: Jean Auel, R. M. Ballantyne, Tom Clancy, E. L. Doctorow, Samir El-Youssef, Jeffry Farnol, Elizabeth George, James Norman Hall, etc, in fact I'm well on the way to two alphabet's worth and you can see my reading is all over the genre map. But - I didn't have anything suitable on the shelves or in mind for the letter "T". So I fished around on the internet one night and found a site called "Fantastic Fiction". I scrolled around the listings for "T" and found a name I thought looked good in print. It was in the "mainstream" category and checked I it out. Kathleen Tessaro had written three books and collecting them shouldn't be a hardship - and the author photograph showed a very beautiful woman. I'm a sucker for beautiful women so I cast my "chick lit" fears aside and went straight for a pink-covered book with a fetching stylization of a woman facing away from the viewer on it's front cover and, Yes, a great picture of Ms Tessaro inside the back cover.
Guys, I have to tell you that you shouldn't rule these things off out-of-hand. This is a fun read. Ms Tessaro has her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, she has a wicked sense of humor and has included a bit of the ridiculous in her story about flirting. Finely-crafted literature it is not, it doesn't have a complicated plot and it's not what we who served in the Royal Navy used to call an AFO (Admiralty Fleet Order for sexually-explicit assignations ashore) but it is fun. It's an easy read and it does not ask you to think long and hard about the subject matter after you have finished it - although you might just do that!
I don't know if women would like it or not. I suspect my wife would call it "crap" and I'm sure my eldest daughter would get the same giggles out of it that I got. Daughter number two would probably fall somewhere in between those extremes. I'm going to read another one of Ms Tessaro's soon. I noticed that there's another one due out in 2010 - oh goody! ( )
  gmillar | Jul 28, 2010 |
I'm not a big chick-lit reader, but I like Kathleen Tessaro's books. The Flirt is a fun book about flirting and love, and a quick and entertaining read in between 'heavier' literature. ( )
  SimoneA | Jul 9, 2010 |
In a genre flooded with tired cliches propounded by tired authors, Tessaro stands out as an original and compelling storyteller. She tells an unusual and hillarious tale of coincidence and mistaken identity while still delivering the tropes expected and adored by veteran romance readers. A perfectly phrased, beautifully witty and well structured romance. ( )
  Johnny1978 | Feb 23, 2010 |
This is an engagingly quick and fluffly read which is far better written than many other books of its genre. I particularly liked how Tessaro resisted the temptation to wrap everything up in a nice pat ending. ( )
  riverwillow | Jul 12, 2009 |
The book started out fairly slowly, as this genre is typically wont to do, but I found that it never really sped up after that. The characters were introduced over the first half of the book, and then the rest of the time seemed to be spent setting up the final hurrah in which all the stories come to a climax and resolve in about twenty chapters, start to finish. That was probably the most disappointing part of the book for me - realizing that I didn’t get to the crux of the story until nearly the very end and then had everything wrapped up quite neatly in one chapter.

The character’s themselves were real and interesting, which is possibly the only thing that kept me reading. The only ones that I would say were above the reality of some of the situations were Valentine, the orchestrater and herder of male flirts, and Arnaud, a domineering, self-absorbed, controlling and entirely out-of-touch husband and socialite-slash-aristocrat. That’s really the nicest thing I could say about the character, and you know when there’s no redeeming quality about a character, they’re intended to only be a villain and not have any satisfying resolution or reform in the end. That’s just how books go.

Probably the most interesting character was Flick, or Mary Margaret Flickering, who was Valentine’s go-to girl, who at first benefitted from his influence and at the last benefitted from leaving it. She had a realness to her and a likeability that I’ve rarely seen in characters who weren’t meant to be the main character, and I found it very pleasing.

Other characters, such as Hughie, Leticia or Olivia who seem to be meant to vie for the position of main character, leave something to be desired. For none of these characters could I find an underlying thread which would make me identify and therefore sympathize with them. Without that ability to identify or at least sympathize, I find it difficult to like the main character as a main character. They seemed almost secondary.

One thing that did seem pronounced in this was that the author clearly disdains the idea that money makes happiness (which most of us Americans seem to try to convince ourselves while simultaneously pining for more financial security), and shows that simple is probably better. That’s the idea I got out of this. People ended up happiest in the story not when they were clothed lavishly and living on unimaginable wealth but when they let themselves be comfortable with what they had, make things work even when they might be tight or not quite comfortable and went outside of their comfort zone. It came off a little bit like an after school special, actually, now that I consider it.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book. I can’t say that I wasted my time reading it. It is not a favorite and I wouldn’t say that it’s fantastic. I was never immersed enough in the story to render myself hesitant to put it down, but quite obviously I was able to finish it and in a reasonable amount of time. That’s more than I’ve been able to say about a lot of books that I’ve read. ( )
1 vote rainbowdarling | Apr 10, 2009 |
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The ad appeared in the Stage in the second week of September, when the Edinburgh Festival was official over and real life made its unpleasant appearance in the collective consciousness of the large number of unemployed young actors who populate the London area.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061125768, Paperback)

Tantalizing words written on an ivory card. It is the first clue that will lead an intrigued and intriguing London lady on an odyssey of sensual experience designed to awaken her romantic nature.

Out-of-work actor Hughie Venables-Smythe has found a profitable new outlet for his talents. He is hired, often by distraught husbands, to flirt with wives who are feeling neglected in their relationships. His current seductive campaign is focused on Olivia, the spouse of a narcissistic billionaire, and the lady is responding quite nicely to the cream-colored missives he secretly leaves for her. So nicely, in fact, that Hughie decides to employ a similar technique—and shockingly similar messages—in his pursuit of his own heart’s desire: the aloof and charming lingerie designer, Leticia. But the canny, professional flirt’s brazen anonymous intrusions into the lives of two women are about to set in motion a series of remarkable events that no one could have anticipated—setting the stage for shocking revelations about love, friendship, and domestic bliss.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

An out-of-work actor is hired to flirt with wives who are feeling neglected in their relationships. His techniques are so successful that he decides to use them in pursuit of his own heart's desire: an aloof and charming lingerie designer.

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