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March 31, 2010 | by  | in Arts Books |
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The Most Beautiful Man in the World by Jill Marshall

Take one very charismatic silver fox, throw in three or so pissed-off women, a sprinkling of English literature and a misguided grope in a bus stop shelter and you have a full-proof recipe for Gary Marshall’s next rom-com (sans the happy Valentine’s Day guarantee). One glance at the cheap paperback cover and you would be forgiven for assuming that the story centres on not much besides sex, sneaky relationships, and happy endings with a cheesy cringe factor of 10. You’re correct and forgiven.

But readers beware! Instead of the Mills & Boon-esque rip-off you believe waits inside, something much darker prowls between these sheets. The man encapsulated in The Most Beautiful Man in the World is by no means Mr Perfect. As the leading ladies slowly discover, falling for and sleeping with the alluring professor might get you A+s now, but will get you nothing but lemons later on in life.

Underneath the rich literature allusions and naive women, this book holds a sneaky mirror to several of humanity’s murky failings; greed, coveting and all matters of sin. It intently focuses on the negative ramifications that one seriously screwed individual can generate over a lifetime. It almost makes you want to get background checks on your nearest and dearest.

Irony is not lost with Marshall. She manages to craft a clever romantic thriller, one that balances, somewhat unevenly, the predictable (the heavy) and the unexpected (the light) and the twisted (the majority). Somehow she does this without it becoming the quintessential romance. But, for the sake of your bookshelf pride, wait until it comes out in a cinema near you.

The moral of this story: If life gives you citrus, eat it. It keeps scurvy away.

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