Just Friends

( 22 )

Overview

A free-spirited art dealer, Freya is contemplating settling down for the first time in her life. She is convinced her boyfriend is going to ask her to marry him. And she should say yes, shouldn't she? After all, Michael is a decent, stable guy.

That night, at the fanciest restaurant in town, to Freya's astonishment, Michael does not pop the question, but instead suggests they break up. Furious, embarrassed, and perhaps just a teeny bit ...

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Just Friends

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Overview

A free-spirited art dealer, Freya is contemplating settling down for the first time in her life. She is convinced her boyfriend is going to ask her to marry him. And she should say yes, shouldn't she? After all, Michael is a decent, stable guy.

That night, at the fanciest restaurant in town, to Freya's astonishment, Michael does not pop the question, but instead suggests they break up. Furious, embarrassed, and perhaps just a teeny bit relieved, Freya runs out and heads to the only place she knows she will find friends: Jack's apartment.

Having Freya in her spare bedroom while she gets over Michael is not exactly Jack's idea of fun. For one thing, every time he wants to be alone with his new girlfriend—the oh-so-bouncy Candace—Freya is right there. But they've been friends for years and he couldn't have turned her away. Truth be told, he doesn't really want Freya to leave. She does have that cute little smile...

Meanwhile, it doesn't' take long for Michael to bounce back and find a new girl—Freya's best friend, Cat, actually! The sparks fly as this group of friends tries to find "the one". Set in London and New York, amidst weddings, art shows, trips to Coney Island, and of course, breakups, this is a story of friends-perhaps-lovers. Will everyone remain Just Friends?

About the Author:
Robyn Sisman is the author of Perfect Strangers. She lives in London.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As she did in her previous novel, Perfect Strangers, published in Britain but not here, Sisman in her new novel focuses on singles life and the quest of 30-somethings for Mr. or Ms. Right. Freya Penrose, an energetic, trendy British transplant working in a Manhattan art gallery, believes she is on the verge of becoming engaged to longtime boyfriend and apartment-mate Michael Petersen, a lawyer whose stodgy outlook on life contrasts with Freya's more spontaneous approach. When their "romantic" dinner turns out to be a cool brush-off, a stunned Freya is forced to find a new home. Jack Madison, a promising writer and poker buddy whom Freya has known for 10 years, offers to share his apartment until Freya finds a new place. Freya's best friend Cat advises against it, declaring, "All men are pigs," but Freya insists she and Jack are like brother and sister. Jack, who has been stuck writing his novel for three years, ekes out a living teaching creative writing and subsists on an allowance from his wealthy, womanizing father. The two old friends take separate paths to love--Jack dates one of his students, Freya turns to the personals ads--and each finds themselves sabotaging the others' romantic efforts. When Jack volunteers to accompany Freya to her stepsister's wedding in the U.K., the nuptials bring up emotions that challenge the characters' integrity. Even Cat weighs in with a surprise of her own that forces Freya to reassess her life. With a dash of British humor and an adroit insight into family relationships and what really makes love work, Sisman's latest offering has what it takes. (Jan. 2) Forecast: There's much interest in this title: film rights already belong to Warner Brothers and David Heymann, and foreign rights have been sold in 15 countries. Perfect Strangers sold 150,000 copies in the U.K.; with an appropriate push from Ballantine, this one should do well both there and here. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Refreshing . . . From the opening gun, Sisman delivers pleasant prose, clever repartee, and insight into the differences between men and women. . . . A pleasure to read.”
–The Boston Globe

Just Friends is just bliss. Witty, warm, and wise,
it’s as good as an old movie for romantics.”
–The Times (London)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345442277
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/30/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 833,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Robyn Sisman is the author of Perfect Strangers and Special Relationships. She lives in London.
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Freya peeled off her clothes and stood in her underwear, contemplating her reflection. She wanted to look her best for Michael tonight. There had been no time to go home to change; she must make do with this cramped ladies' room beneath her office. Her new dress hung from the cubicle door: a cool thousand dollars' worth of palest pink that shimmered with a tracery of opalescent beads--a Cinderella dress chosen to make her as feminine and delicate as a porcelain doll. That was the look she was aiming for, less femme fatale, more . . . femme, plain and simple.

Let's go somewhere special, he had said over breakfast on Monday morning, somewhere we can talk. Questions had exploded in her head like popcorn in a hot pan. Talk about what? Why not right here in the apartment? Freya had choked them back. Instead, she'd done a lot of shopping.

But all week long she had carried his words around with her, a time bomb in the pit of her stomach, tick-tick-ticking as the days passed. Was this It? Was she about to become Mrs. Normal, grouching about schools and the state of her suburban lawn?

With a hand that was not quite steady Freya twisted the tap and splashed her cheeks with cold water. On with the war paint. She began to make up her face--a pencil to darken the pale arches of her eyebrows, mascara to bring her light-blue eyes into focus. Which lipstick? Scarlet Woman was out, obviously. So, frankly, was Vestal Virgin, a relic of her infatuation with an artist who had left her for a seventeen-year-old. Ah-hah, Crimson Kiss, that was more like it. She slid the color back and forth over her lips, then bared her teeth, satisfactorily white against the red. I floss, you floss, we all floss. God bless American dentistry.

But what if she was wrong? Maybe Michael just wanted to discuss the new service charge for the apartment, or to finalize plans for their trip to England. Freya cocked her head to fix an earring, considering this possibility. No, she decided. Michael was a lawyer, and a man: habit was his middle name. Every January he bought his suits in the sales, always two, always Armani, either navy or charcoal. He called his mother on Sunday evenings (allowing for the time change to Minneapolis), got his annual hay fever shot right after Groundhog Day, and always tipped ten percent on the nose. There was nothing unpredictable about Michael, thank God. If he wanted to "talk," he must have something important to say.

Balancing precariously on one flamingo leg, then the other, Freya slid on sheer stockings, then stepped carefully into the precious dress and drew it up her body, shivering at its silky opulence. A hidden side zip pulled it snug around her small breasts, miraculously creating a discreet cleavage. She slotted her feet into flat shoes, with the faintest sigh of regret for those strappy four-inch heels she'd seen in a Fifth Avenue store. It was too bad Michael wasn't taller. She reminded herself sternly that successful relationships were founded on compromise.

A few adjustments, a mist of perfume, and she was finished. Did she look the part? Freya found her brain flooding with words she had never associated with herself: fiancée, engagement, honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. . . Daddy and Mommy. She grabbed the sink with both hands and peered close. Narrow pointed face, skin as pale as buttermilk, collar bones you could beat a tattoo on, long arms and legs--too long? She was as tall as many men: "giraffe," they had called her at school. Could somebody really love this person--for ever and ever, amen? She picked at her newly cropped hair (another hundred bucks), so fair it looked almost colorless in this light. "Freya the beautiful," her mother used to call her, named after the warmhearted goddess of the icy north who was loved by all men. But that was when she was six years old. It was impossible to know what her mother would make of her now.

As she turned this way and that, assessing this unfamiliar self, Freya was reminded of one of those ballerinas that twirled mechanically on one leg whenever someone opened a musical box. She gave an experimental twirl herself, laughing a little as her legs tangled and she almost lost her balance. The movement had dislodged a lock of hair, and as she smoothed it back she caught sight of her left hand, with its bare ring finger. Her expression sobered. It was nice to be wanted, she told her twin in the mirror. It was wonderful to be loved. She wasn't twenty-nine anymore.

Yes, Michael was the one, she was almost sure.

*
• *

The restaurant Michael had chosen was a new and very expensive place on the edge of the Village, so confident of its must-go status that Freya walked past it twice before spotting the tiny engraved entryphone. She leaned on the buzzer, and immediately the door was opened by an angelic young man with a peroxide crop. She found herself in a waiting area furnished according to the latest style edict to look "just like your own home"--if you were a millionaire. Voluptuous sofas flanked a faux fireplace. There were Georgian-style urns on the mantelpiece, magazines and "real" books artfully disarranged on low tables, even a chess set, apparently abandoned in midgame. Shallow steps led down into the dining room. From it wafted up fashionable smells and the uninhibited chatter of people utterly at ease with their own tremendous success. The name of the restaurant, she remembered, was Phood.

As the young man led the way, Freya scanned the crowded tables. On one of the plump banquettes, perched somewhat stiffly between lime-green bolsters, was Michael. Sober-suited and serious, frowning slightly as he checked some document with a hovering pen--perhaps, knowing Michael, a checklist of their compatible qualities--he looked so out of place among the flashy media poseurs and Wall Street dudes that Freya's face melted into a tender, teasing smile. Her anxieties retreated. She realized that his choice of restaurant was a compliment to her, and vowed to keep any sardonic comments to herself. She would be amusing, charming, attentive--the perfect partner. She made her way down the steps, waiting for him to notice her. When he did, he looked startled, almost shocked: very gratifying. Cramming his papers into a side pocket, he leaped up from his chair to greet her with a kiss on each cheek.

"Freya, you look wonderful!"

"I know." She put her hands on his shoulders and laughed into his eyes, then stepped back so that he could admire her properly. "It's the new me. Don't tell me, you thought I was born wearing trousers."

"No, no." Her exuberance seemed to disconcert him. "I mean, you always look fabulous." He pulled the table out so she could sit down opposite him, and resumed his position. How adorably lawyerly he looked, with his square, handsome face, serious brown eyes, and wavy hair clipped close. They would love him in England. She wondered if he'd already bought her a ring, and if so where he was hiding it.

A waiter brought them menus and drew a bottle from a cooler by the table. "Champagne?"

"Absolutely." Freya shot Michael a sparkling smile. "Are we celebrating?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    Deeper than your average chick lit title

    I just finished this book Sunday night and was really sad it ended. I loved how Robyn took the time to describe the setting, using actual descriptive words rather than 'it was hot' or 'the room was messy.' It seems like a lot of the chick lit authors either don't think much of their readers and skimp a lot on details. I loved Jack and Freya, made whole and real by dialogue and the exposure of their inner thoughts. Defintely recommend this to anyone who has felt let down by other chick lit books that seem too empty, simple or formulaic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Amanda

    Id like some ppl to talk to

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    I have never read a book this bad.

    This was a very messy and poorly written book. Not worth the money at all!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2010

    ...

    I was a teenager when I read this and I remember really enjoying it. It's not the best book I ever read, but it is nice, but remember getting angry at the main character because she wasn't letting her hair down nor expressing her true feelings.

    On the other hand I am a loyal Robyn Sisman reader.

    I recommend her other book Special Relationship (1995)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Novel with Wit and Humor

    My friends and I have heated discussions on whether and a guy and a girl can stay strictly friends...so naturally when I saw this book I had to buy it -- didn't think too much of it but at the time, but I have to admit it's a great book. I found it hilariously funny - the dialogue between Jack and Freya got me laughing out loud. I couldn't put the book down! I usually don't recommend books on websites but I had to just to make sure people give this book a shot :' A feel good book that will make you laugh til the very last page :'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    B

    A good book! Cute and realistic. I read it several years ago, so it's hard for me to be very descriptive, but it really was a cute book and worth picking up to read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    Just Disappointing...

    I had such high hopes for this book, only to be disappointed in the end. For starters, the beginning was boring. As the book progressed I started to like Freya more but it entered the daunting territory of cliches. Also, I usually like a good fight between the main characters but Freya and Jack argued like they wanted to kill each other. This may have been the point, but it makes it more difficult to believe that they fall in love with each other. There have been other books with the same idea that are a lot of more exciting to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2004

    not what i expected

    There were a few parts where i really liked the book but i wish there were more scenes between jack and freya. I thought the book kind of just dragged on til towards the end. Loved the ending, I got teary eyed. It was just okay, not one of my favorites

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2004

    Not as good as I had hoped

    The book had its good parts but it took too long to get to them. I wanted to read this book because so many Jane Green fans recommended it, I thought it dragged most of the time. I just couldn't wait for it to end just to see what happens.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2003

    A True Love Story

    I thougt the book was great! I loved all of the charaters, especially Cat. I finished the book in two days because I just couldn't put it down. I saw myself and some of my friend in the character's of the book. I would recommend this book to any single woman.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    15 yr old ny grl...

    wow! coming from ny i know how hard the city could be! i really loved the book. can u believe i found it in a thrift store and its the uk edition. whoever gave it up made a mistake... oh well, their loss, my gain! i finished all 500 something pages in one week exactly and loved every minute of it! i wish freya were real and jack and cat too! i think i would have fun with them, i even liked jack! too bad! anywayz the book was great and i do recomend it to anyone who loves a good book and a good laugh!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2003

    Loved the Ending!

    Although the author was pretty wordy in some parts, the book was great. 400 pages, but very worth the time it took to get through it. I laughed at loud at a couple of points and loved how the book ended; It was great! Can't give it away, but would recommend this book to anyone from my mother to my best friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    A can't put it down, must read

    This book was wonderful and so true about relationships with friends. I can't say enough great things about this book except that if you have ever had feelings for a close guy friend, you will absolutely love this book. I read the entire book in one weekend that's how good it was and i don't even really like to read. That's how good it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2003

    To Be Friends or Not to Be Friends

    Just Friends is an exciting feel good book. Robyn Sisman must have been in love when she wrote this. Although some parts are very detailed and copious she got her point across that Freya wanted love more than anything. She came across some barriers trying to reach love but it all works out in the end. Just Friends has many conflicts. Freya the main character has an internal conflict with herself and also a conflict with other characters in the story. Freya is an art publisher in New York City. She moved from London where she was raised so she could start a new life. Freya¿s internal conflict was her desire to get married. She wanted to fall in love and get married more than anything. At the beginning of the novel her live in boyfriend, Michael, breaks up with her but she thinks that he is proposing. After that misunderstanding she is crushed and looks for a man to marry the rest of the book and someone to accompany her to her sisters wedding. Another conflict is with Jack, her good friend and roommate. Jack accompanies Freya to Tash¿s, Freya¿s stepsister, wedding. Jack is just going to pretend like he is in love with Freya to make her look good in front of the family. Jack gets in a fight with Freya and decides to tell Tash that he isn¿t dating Freya and the yare just friends. Freya gets really upset at Jack and they end their friendship right there. Robyn Sisman does a good job involving conflicts everywhere in the story and making characters interesting. The conflicts in the story are very reasonable. Although it seems Freya is always on the bad side of the conflict she is main character and the protagonist. It all works its way out in the end. Ms. Sisman makes each character intriguing. Each one has very detailed attributes that make the novel even better. For example Jack one of the antagonist is an author and he is talked about a lot in the story. His father is a rich man and he gives Jack a monthly allowance. Robyn makes him detailed and interesting to keep the story getting better and better. Just Friends is a book that makes you feel good when you are done. I recommend this book to young women who are in love or looking for it. This book puts a smile on your face when you are done. It is a great summer book and a book to relax with while tanning at the beach.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2001

    Romantic comedy at its best

    I'm a big fan of romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle. I can't resist star crossed lovers and the hijinks they get up to while trying to fall in love. Just Friends was perfect for me! I loved the love story between Freya and Jack, and the funny dialogue between them and all their friends. Freya's dates, blind and otherwise, were hilarious! The book zipped along and I didn't want to put it down until I knew that everyone would end up happy. This was the perfect book to read by pool or on the beach.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2001

    Good Read

    This is the third Robyn Sisman book I've read and, like the other two, it was a very enjoyable read. I knew she had done a great job with her character development when I found myself wanting to hit Freya over the head numerous times! I wish Ms. Sisman would have ended the book with an Epilogue, though; to let us know how Jack's book is received and what direction his and Freya's life takes (and Michael and Cat's as well). The story ended a bit too abruptly. Still, I recommend it.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable urban romance

    In Manhattan, art dealer Freya and attorney Michael have lived together for the past five months. Freya expects Michael, a man of habitual routines, to propose because he has changed the usual Friday night scene into something expensive and romantic. Instead, he ends their relationship by asking Freya to become his friend. A distraught Freya flees to the home of her decade long friend writer Jack, who gives her two weeks to seek shelter. <P>Freya cramps Jack¿s style as he tries to make it with Candace, a creative writing student in his adult class. Meanwhile, Michael apparently falls in love with Freya¿s best friend Cat. Freya rebounds from the feeling of betrayal by beginning to fall in love with her host, who reciprocates. However, will she realize in time that Jack is her Cary Grant? <P>JUST FRIENDS is an amusing romance that will remind readers of the TV show Friends. The story line is fun, breezy, and adorable as the individuals, especially Jack and Freya pair up. Robyn Sisman provides a warm, friendly look at the New York singles scene in a tale that will provide entertainment to fans of lighthearted contemporary romance. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews

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