Mr. Maybe - Jane Green

To Libby Mason, Mr. Right has always meant Mr. Rich. A twenty-seven-year-old publicist, she’s barely able to afford her fashionable and fabulous lifestyle, and often has to foot the bill for dates with Struggling Writer Nick, a sexy but perpetually strapped-for-cash guy she’s dating (no commitments–really). So when Ed, Britain’s wealthiest but stodgiest bachelor, enters the picture, her idea of the fairy-tale romance is turned on its head. Libby soon finds herself weighing the advantages of Nick’s sexual prowess and tender heart against Ed’s luxurious lifestyle and unlimited retail therapy. But when the diamond shopping commences, Libby is forced to realize that the time for “maybe” is up.






Londoner Libby Mason has busted her tail all her life to make a little notch for herself in the world. Now a successful publicist to the stars, Libby has carved out a relatively comfortable, mostly financially stable situation for herself as a single gal, but she comes to the realization that she's not really interested in working THIS hard for it for the rest of her life. Feeling her 30s quietly encroaching on her little by little, Libby sets out to nab a rich husband willing to foot the tab for the rest of her life. In her ultimate fantasy, not only will the mystery guy set her up for life financially, but he'll also be insanely good-looking and wildly in love with her til the end of their days. Rich, hot, romantic AND with a crazy generous sex drive --- that's right, Libby's taking us on the hunt for that relationship unicorn! 


Just a little hiccup along the way: Nick. Introduced through mutual friends one night, Nick and Libby click instantly. Going through Libby's mental checklist, Nick is undeniably  gorgeous, charismatic, funny, attentive... and as it soon turns out, tons of fun in the sheets! Only one problem for our main girl --- charming as the guy is, Nick is POOR. Gasp! Horror!  Ahh, poor Libby -- so close! But yeah, charmer Nick is a currently unemployed (living on unemployment checks for the time being) aspiring novelist. One other hitch: he says from the beginning that he's not in the market for a serious relationship, just some fun. Raise your hand if you've had a Nick in your past. *waves* 


Unable to give up the good time that this guy is, Libby decides to put the rich husband search on hold and revel in this "have some fun" period with Nick. But what pretty much always inevitably happens in that FWB scenario? Yep, someone here caught a case of the feelings, despite their best efforts. In this instance, it was both of them, though a good bulk of this story is both of them adamantly denying it. In a bit of a panic, Nick decides to end things with Libby, claiming that he can see SHE is the one who is falling too hard for him, and he just likes her too much to hurt her further. 


Heart and ego bruised, Libby scuffles around in a mope fest for awhile before deciding to dive into her rebound fella, investment banker Ed McMahon (*Note: this is a UK publication, so obvs not the same Ed McMahon known in the States, but still, I had a hard time shaking that image... but it sort of helped with the gag-factor Libby tends to describe around outings with her Ed LOL... wonder how many stars he gave her... ). Again, introduced through mutual friends, Libby and Ed have a decent chat one night while the group is out on the town, but she's not really feeling anything spark-wise on her end. She also doesn't find him terribly attractive (for one, he rocks a mustache -- just the 'stache -- which grosses her out). Ed does ask her out to dinner though, an offer Libby puts off accepting UNTIL she discovers he's a bit of a small time celebrity about town as a highly desired eligible bachelor. Libby doesn't entirely understand his celebrity status, as she finds him kind of ugly and socially awkward, but she likes the idea of being seen with him and having the envy of others, so after a few dates, she agrees to let a relationship develop between them. 


Before long, Libby finds herself engaged to a man whose touch still seems to induce her gag reflex no matter what she tries. But his bank account does fulfill some most excellent shopping sprees at all the poshest stores around town! She secretly pines after Nick, but figures that door is solidly shut. Little does she know, Nick hasn't been able to shake his case of the feels either. Libby's best friend, Jules, becomes concerned that, in the case of Ed, Libby's "falling for how he treats you rather than the man himself." Libby's immediate response to her friend's comment, naturally, is "I really don't think that's the case..." even though throughout the rest of the story she goes on and on about how Ed spoils her like no one else before in her life... mmmhmmm.


What's a girl to do? Go for the guy who honestly makes her heart flutter but may be ages away from a place of financial security ... or settle in with the one who can fulfill all her materialistic needs right off (but all fumbly thumbs in bed) ? The choice might seem obvious, but then we wouldn't have a much of a novel, would we? ;-) 


Told in first person perspective, with Libby talking right at the reader like a close friend, this ultimately ends up being about how Libby narrows down what she really truly wants in her heart of hearts, sorting out what would be nice versus what does she honestly need to feed her soul. A journey all of us have to set out on one time or another. Granted, Libby's here is a little more superficial and entertaining than most, but still. Libby starts out as pretty relatable but becomes progressively more obnoxious and shallow the more she becomes involved with Ed. At least she admits the personality shift near the end of the book though, I'll give her credit there.


Being based in London, there is some Tony Blair-era political discussion amongst the characters, as well as some debates regarding the Labour Party. This could possibly leave US readers feeling a bit isolated (or bore them) if they're unfamiliar with international government history but if this might be an issue for you, these passages only crop up momentarily so you could easily skim and not lose the meat of the novel. I'll also note for more sensitive readers that there are a few passages in this story that are mildly sexually explicit, but again, it's only a paragraph or two here and there. The bulk of the novel is pretty tame. Don't expect a lot of depth here, just one of those ones that's fun for what it is.