She's smart. She's savvy. She's...well, she's working on the thighs. And with God as her witness, she'll never let that man spoil her happy ending!
Phoebe Grant is everyone's favorite movie geek-unbeatable at trivia, convinced that all the world's a movie screen. She can organize a four-hankie chick-flickathon with a wave of her tall, nonfat, double mocha. And she's a shoo-in for the job of her dreams-movie reviewer for the newpaper where she works.
Enter Alex Spencer-not only gorgeous but also a film buff, perfectly cast for a celluloid kiss and a fade to sunset. Unfortunately, Alex is the villain who sends Phoebe packing to the last place on earth she wants to be-back home to boring little Barley, California.
But wait. It couldn't be. Dark, handsome, and annoying Alex...in Barley?
Can Phoebe protect her hometown-and her heart-and prove It's a Wonderful Life? Or is her promising future truly Gone with the Wind?
Walker, a Christian humorist, begins her Phoebe Grant series with this somewhat charming but often frustratingly formulaic and derivative debut novel. Phoebe, a 31-year-old city girl, writes mental "notes to self" about weight, food, clothes and romance, which makes the book often read like little more than a Christian imitation of Bridget Jones's Diary. And since it revolves around the same premise as You've Got Mail, Walker's novel loses even more points for originality. Most plot developments are telegraphed and all too familiar: the city girl finding her "real" home in a small town; the fight to save a beloved old movie theater; the dramatic, unplanned home birth scene at the end. Classic movie loving Phoebe's incessant film referencing is sometimes clever, but adds to the sense that this novel relies too heavily upon popular culture for its source material. Despite these flaws, Walker offers some well-observed scenes; these moments, unlike the rest of the book, feel as if they're drawn from real people's lives. For example, Walker's wittily authentic take on the mating habits of Christian singles is reminiscent of Ray Blackston's fresh comedy Flabbergasted and offers hope that she will find a more distinctive voice in subsequent Phoebe Grant novels.