A Promising Man (and About Time, Too)

A Promising Man (and About Time, Too)

by Elizabeth Young

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060507848
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/12/2002
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 639,957
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Young started writing after holding a variety of jobs that included modeling for TV commercials in Cyprus and working for the Sultan's Armed Forces in Oman. She has two daughters and lives in Surrey with her husband who never once told her to forget writing and get a "proper" job.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I don't quite know why I said "sins" back there. I never set out to pinch anyone's bloke, let alone Nina's. The day it all started, picking up a bloke was the last thing on my mind. Even I don't go out on the pull in manky old combats, a sweater that's seen better days, and hair sorely in need of Frizz-Ease.

All I was thinking of, that drizzly afternoon, was calling it a day and finding a cab home. Since it was early December I was laden with what was supposed to be highly organized Christmas shopping. I'd made a methodical list saying Mum, Bill, Sally, Tom, Jacko ... so I could go 'round the shops briskly and efficiently ticking them all off.

With customary efficiency I'd only ticked off Tom. My bags were full of impulse buys for the house; having come late to the nesting bit, I was making up for lost time. There were also two bottles of ready-mulled wine. I buy stuff like that when Christmas is coming and I need something to put me in the mood -- the weather certainly wasn't. Mild and damp, it felt more like October.

Having started off in mistlike fashion, the drizzle had moved up a gear, as if it were thinking about turning to proper rain, instead. At this point I was just up the road from Covent Garden, with drizzled-on hair, arms coming out of their sockets, and a jumper starting to smell of wet Shetland sheep. That was when I saw Nina, coming out of some smart little restaurant, with a bloke on her arm.

If I can misquote Jane Austen here, it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you are fated to bump into someone like Nina when you haven't seen her for four years and don't particularly want toever again, you'll be looking like a pig's breakfast.

While she'll be looking like, well, like Nina.

Like a Sunday Times fashion shoot of some taupey thing in silk and cashmere, a snip at only £799. That dark-haired bob as sleek and glossy as ever. A face like an airbrushed L'Oréal ad.

Only about six paces away, she was talking and laughing in her silver-tinkle way to the bloke, who was holding her umbrella up to stop her getting drizzled on.

If she'd seen me, and recognized me, she'd have been over before you could say "sick as a pig," with a delighted smile (delighted to make me sick as a pig, I mean) and a "Harry! How are you!" Then there'd be a couple of mwah-mwah kisses, and a "This is Gorgeous Bloke -- Gorgeous Bloke, this is Harriet -- we were at school together and I used to be terribly nice to her on the surface but laugh behind her back because she had size eight feet and looked like a scarecrow."

So before any such daymare actually occurred, I turned around and pretended to be riveted by a shop window. For maybe half a minute longer I heard tinkly laughter with stuff like, " ... and don't you dare be late -- tinkle tinkle," a kissy noise, and the sound of a car door slamming.

Of course I'd never intended to lurk there, eavesdropping. I'd have been fifty yards back down the road by then, telling myself I was pathetic, when was I going to grow up, etc., if something in that window hadn't detained me. To be frank, it had given me a bit of a jolt. When you're hiding from the Ninas of this world you don't expect to find yourself gaping at a massive wooden willy.

No, it wasn't a sex shop; the window was full of ethnic art. And the pride of the display was a six-footish twisty chunk of tree, carved into a misshapen man with a crown thing on his head and an outstretched hand with what looked like an egg in it. The carved whopper wasn't half as riveting as his face, though. It was such a powerful mix of noble suffering and raw masculinity, he looked like a a primitive Jesus and fertility god combined. I was just searching for a price tag when someone beside me said, "Different, isn't it?"

And lo, there he was. Standing quite casually about three feet away, hands shoved in his trouser pockets. They were gray trousers, if you're interested: the bottom half of a quietly pricey suit. There was a black polo shirt, I think, only I wasn't really looking at his clothes.

It took me a second to get over the shock, but I said, casually enough, "That's one way of putting it. I suppose you can't see a price tag?"

He peered a bit closer, straightened up, and turned to me. "Fifteen hundred quid."

And I took my first, proper, full-face look.

My first thought was: Well, might have known, just the sort of bloke I'd expect to see attached to Nina, followed swiftly by: On the other hand, maybe not.

The last time I'd seen her (at a wedding four years back) she'd had some tall, dark specimen in tow, of the type generally described as classically good-looking, with an eligibility rating of eleven and a half out of ten. I say "generally" because although everything about him was theoretically perfect, personally I hadn't been particularly impressed. Okay, maybe it was sour grapes, but to me he'd seemed just a bit plastic, somehow. It had been quite a boost to my ego to realize I didn't actually fancy him, especially when everybody else was saying, "Trust Nina to get a bloke like that."

I don't quite know what it was with this one -- he wasn't classically good-looking, exactly, but there was definitely no plastic ...

A Promising Man (and About Time, Too). Copyright © by Elizabeth Young. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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A Promising Man (and About Time, Too) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Bookoholic73 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
This book has everything that I normally would like- England, sassy heroine, quirky friends, a plot with a twist..but somehow, it just did not add up for me at all. I am not fond of the writing, the plot feels forced, the characters I just do not buy..There is a lot of chick lit out there that I like much better. Or even, that I like.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Thought this was great. It had a nice flow to it and kept me interested. Recently got into reading books set in England and Ireland (Marian Keyes' books). This one was good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved 'Asking for Trouble' by this author and enjoyed 'A Promising Man' equally as much. Fun, page-turning entertainment. I hope she writes more soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so cute and it kept you awake. The characters are adorable and the ending is great. You will love this book if your into books that Jane Green writes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent! Definetly would read more books by the same author. It was so cute, and I loved the British lingo! Email if you know of other good books set in the United Kingdom like this one, please.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book! I generally look for a novel that doesn't make me work too hard or dig too deep, and this one was very entertaining. If you like Bridget Jones' Diary or Meg Ryan movies, you should like this one, too. It's yet another tale of a single girl in London, looking for a Mr. Right, and drinking and hanging out with her friends. The difference between this book and some others with a similar basis is that swear words and explicit, steamy scenes are at a minimum. And the story didn't need them--it is an amusing, satisfying tale without them. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a tough read at first, it took a bit to get into it...but once you've started you can't stop! I find myself thinking like Harriet at times, felt like she was a friend of mine!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend A Promising Man to any reader who enjoys British Chick-Lit. If you are looking for heavy romance, you may be a little disappointed, and likewise if you are looking for a light, fast, and easy read. This book won¿t take any major brain power, but you will need to invest a little more of your attention span than usual for it. (What with all the many names and situations that arise! Harriet seems to have more friends than the average person, I¿ll tell you.) A Promising Man begins with the present tense. Our main character, Harriet, runs into another girl in the deli and they begin chatting about an old childhood archenemy of theirs, named Nina, who suspects her man (John) of cheating on her. Well, we find out that Nina¿s supposed boyfriend is in fact cheating on her, with none other than our dear Harriet. So after that brief interlude (which is the prologue to the story), we go back to the first day that Harriet meets John. We see how they meet, how Harriet finds out that he is already dating her old archenemy from high school, and how in spite of herself, Harriet is attracted to him anyway. So, as the story progresses, Harriet tries to stay away from John, but her efforts are pretty half-hearted since she really likes him. Well, Harriet lives in a house with three quite colorful roommates and is constantly having to deal with their problems before her own. There is her friend Sally, who has a baby son, who is constantly nit-picking at everything. There is also Jacko, a guy who is pretty well off, fun to be around and basically a good friend, but whose wayward younger sister has run away from home. There is also Frida, who is usually not around. Not only does Harriet have to deal with her housemate¿s problems, she also has several friends who are constantly going through tough problems. Since this book relies heavily on suspense of just not knowing what is next, I don¿t want to ruin it by revealing much more of the plot. The entire time I was reading this book, I thought I knew what would happen next, but kept being pleasantly surprised. (I say pleasantly because all too often in Chick Lit, where the story is going is obvious.) I kept wondering throughout the story if the two of them would end up together. And let me tell you, the author will keep you hanging until the VERY end of the book. So, what did I like about A Promising Man? Well, as mentioned above, the fact that I was constantly kept wondering what was going to happen. I also loved how the main character was indeed a pretty witty (hey, that rhymes!) person. Some of the things she says are hilarious in a dry sense-of-humor way. At the same time, Harriet came off as being intelligent and down to earth, and she wasn¿t afraid to admit when she had feelings. (Admit to the reader, that is). In some other Chick-Lit stories, the main character seems to be kind of like a robot in a way, or just plain stupid. However, we get to really see Harriet¿s good and bad sides in A Promising Man. Also, the conversations that takes place between many of the characters will make you smile, if not laugh out loud. Overall? I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London twenty-nine years old Harriet Grey avoids any entanglement with John Mackenzie, though he probably hangs better than the fertility god statue of Wooden Wally in the store window and easily makes her heart beat faster. Harriet believes that John is the lover of her old schoolmate Nina, a perfect female specimen whom she has envied forever. John manages to talk with Harriet, not an easy task, which leads to their initial attraction for one another growing. Desiring to trump Nina, but afraid she is ASKING FOR TROUBLE, Harriet cannot simply accept that this wonderful male specimen would choose her over her beautiful rival. She asks for advice from her motley crew of housemates and just about anyone else who will listen. As John and Harriet begin to fall in love while the rest of her world confronts minor crises, she fears confronting her beloved on the key question whether he and Nina share a bed? A PROMISING MAN (AND ABOUT TIME, TOO) is a delightfully humorous romantic romp that once again proves London swings at least for the Chic crowd. The story line is at its best when the enchanting Harriet (what can you expect with a name like that?) is on the center stage as her doubts on competing with Nina come through loud and clear. When the vast secondary players go into a soliloquy they slow down the plot though they provide some insight into the star, but more into their own personalities. Though not satirical, Elizabeth Young writes a warm, amusing contemporary romance that is fun to read. Harriet Klausner