While trying to avoid her old school nemesis Nina, Harriet Grey finds herself standing in front of a store window staring at what could possibly be a piece of erotic art. That’s when she first meets John Mackenzie, who at once sets her pulse aflutter and piques her hitherto nil interest in men. But seeing as he’s Nina’s guy, Harry tries not to poach, though she badly wants to. But they keep meeting -- innocently at first -- and Harry begins to sense some reciprocal interest from him. Should she be pleased that such a handsome, debonair guy is interested in her, despite the fact that all their dates end in a disaster, or should she be pissed off that he’s possibly cheating on Nina with her?
Harry tries to solve this dilemma, with copious suggestions (both helpful and not), marital and extra-marital advice from her motley crew of housemates and friends. There’s Sally, the unwed mother of a baby who’s trying to get back on her own financial feet while trying not to lose her sanity amid dirty baby diapers; Jacko, a constantly flirting and teasing agreeable man who’s recuperating from a broken leg; Frida, a friendly Swedish girl; Widdles, the fat cat; gossipy Rosie, whose tattling puts Harry in an unbearable position; Helen, a neighbor and divorced mother coming to terms with her new single life; and an assorted bunch of relatives, and their relatives, and friends of friends. Together, all of them help each other to find the true meaning of love and life.
Elizabeth Young’s A Promising Man (and About Time, Too) is enchanting and entertaining. The characters are alternately amusing and touching - they’re human enough divert readers with their jokes and grumpiness, as well as their widely differing individual opinions about the same situation, and they’re realistic enough to be true to life. Wickedly funny comic moments are scattered everywhere to leaven the story, and some underlying serious issues are touched upon lightly. Amazingly enough, the obvious-looking plot has a few secrets up its sleeve that make for a delicious surprise ending. Overall, this story is an hilarious and clearly enjoyable read.