Harlequin Duets, $5.99, ISBN 0-373-44105-3
Contemporary Romance, 2000
Colleen Collins’s latest screwball comedy She’s Got Mail! is so busy I have no idea how to give a summary of the story. Let’s just say editorial assistant Rosie Meyers and stuffy lawyer Ben Taylor rent the same parking space and as a result have to compromise over who will use the space on what day. At the same time, Ben has a unique problem: his ex-wife and his ex-fiancée are best friends, and worse, the ex-fiancée is his receptionist. And every time ex-wife Meredith breaks up with a beau, she comes in and rearranges Ben’s furniture and decor according to the theme of her ex’s job (cowboy decor for that cowboy, red bricks for that bricklayer, etc).
Feeling stifled by his own inability to tell the women to back out of his life, he writes to Mr Real, a columnist for Real Men. Unknown to him, the previous Mr Real has just eloped with a stripper, and Rosie is the new Mr Real. Uh oh. So as they fight over parking space and exchange love relationship advices, sparks fly.
Thing is, help! I can’t breathe! There’s Meredith’s decor mania, the ex-fiancée Heather’s incompetent receptionist duties, Rosie’s inability to get to work on time, Rosie forgetting to return Ben’s movie star mugs, Ben missing his golden retriever… and oh God, here comes Rosie’s overprotective brothers! I’m suffocating over all this activity. The romance is pushed to the background in a few cursory scenes, and everything else is just plain sitcom moments.
I’m okay with it if the humor isn’t monotonously focused on Rosie’s irritating inability to be punctual (someone should buy her an alarm clock or hit her in the head with a Filofax) or Ben’s inexplicable ability to tell the ladies to back off (someone buy him a pepper spray).
She’s Got Mail! has its moments, but in the end I am poleaxed in exhaustion just trying to keep up. Water, water!