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Mad About Max    by Lisa Plumley order for
Mad About Max
by Lisa Plumley
Order:  USA  Can
Zebra, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

What happens when a laid back, non-materialistic retro-girl meets a driven, success oriented workaholic whose lucky suit has just been tossed into a charity bin by his irate girl friend? The charity bin that swallows up Max Nolan's suit just happens to be the property of Successfully Dressed, the discount clothing shop that Lucy Logan manages. Max likes to think he can smooth talk just about anybody, but Lucy is immune to his every line. No amount of cajolery or charm will convince her to hand over Max's precious suit. As far as she's concerned, it's now the property of Successfully Dressed. She does, however, offer Max the chance to buy back his suit by doing volunteer work at her shop.

Confounded by her nerve and at the same time oddly attracted to her purple hair, weird sense of style, and a stubborn streak as wide as the Grand Canyon, Max agrees. Lucy on the other hand figures she's seen the last of him. Men like Max could afford to buy ten suits like the one he lost without batting an eye. He'd never show his gorgeous, GQ/esque face at a discount clothing shop located in the seedier part of town - would he? Nobody is more shocked than Lucy when Max arrives at her shop ready to dig in and learn the ropes. Within days, their boss/employee relationship turns into one that's much more personal and hands-on. Lucy begins to believe that Max could be the one - until she discovers that he might have been using her all along to make contact with her shop's rich benefactors.

Mad About Max is another vintage Plumley, a zippy, smart, well-written and often humorous story that's a joy to read. Max and Lucy are both great characters whose vast differences and diverging outlooks on life make for great conflict - and great let's make up scenes too. Pet lovers will adore the focus of Max and his partner Oliver's business venture - pampered pet boutiques. Some of the ideas they bounce around during brainstorming sessions are hilarious. Oliver also has his own secondary plot: he can formulate crackerjack business plans no sweat, but he sweats bullets and goes tongue-tied when faced with a room full of people - or a beautiful woman. That is until the he meets the girl of his dreams, who just happens to be Lucy's best friend and work colleague. If you've got a free afternoon to while away in the sun, then Mad About Max is guaranteed to provide a few hours of fun.

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