In A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND, Kristin Billerbeck continues the spa escapades and relationship foibles of three friends whom readers met in SHE'S ALL THAT. It's a Chick Lit plot all the way, as they try to make sense of life, love and vocation. When the going gets tough, these gals head for a good manicure and facial.
In book one, Billerbeck followed Lilly Jacobs, Poppy Clayton and Morgan Malliard's friendship through the eyes of Lilly, a fashion designer whose romantic life had gone to pieces and who was at a dead end at her job. In book two, Billerbeck shifts the focus to Morgan, the poor little rich girl who has everything money can buy but longs for love and her father's attention.
Morgan is despondent after an escapade with a man who claimed he was a Christian rock star. He swept her away from a fashion show where she was modeling Lilly's couture wedding gown and her daddy's diamonds, and he seemed to be the Prince Charming of her dreams. But like most Prince Charmings, he seemed too good to be true --- and he was. The paparazzi are having a field day with the story of the "Jilted Jewelry Heiress" and Morgan is ready to lay low for a while.
"You know, if it was Johnny Depp I was accused of adultery with, well, so be it, gossip away," Morgan tells her two best friends angrily. "But a guy without a job, who was living off his wife in Daly City while I thought he was off in Nashville making his way as a Christian artist? Now that's just humiliating."
With her father's money, Morgan can lay low in style. She has the 600-thread Egyptian cotton sheets, unlimited Visa card, a BMW, and pair after pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. But her father's money may be in jeopardy --- and a new wicked stepmother waits in the wings. Then, Morgan is implicated in legal troubles. Should Morgan leave home and try to make it on her own? And what talents does she have besides wearing big expensive diamonds and looking beautiful?
When the three girls get in over their heads, they head for…you guessed it right. "Man, I need a spa treatment," Morgan intones. "Not just a measly pedicure or a pink-and-white nail fill. I need the full treatment; an enzyme peel, a moisturizing facial, a cucumber mask for my puffy eyes, a hot-stone massage, and maybe even a diamond treatment."
Meanwhile, Morgan and Poppy wonder why Lilly is putting off tying the knot with her own special guy, hotel dynasty heir Max Schwartz. Lilly has a few secrets of her own, and her beloved irascible Nana isn't going to be happy when she finds out what Lilly isn't telling. Poppy, a chiropractor, lends some engaging quirkiness to the storyline, with her oddball mixture of natural healing remedies, Zen-like statements and Christianese: "Self-esteem comes from the Lord, not other people. Why should we care what others think?" She mixes self-help and pop spirituality as easily as she wears her gauzy skirts.
Although Morgan isn't as interesting a character as Lilly, fans of the first book will enjoy catching up on the lives of the three women. It's a good bet that Poppy will be the focus of the next installment, and as the most colorful character of the trio, her story may be the most promising of all.
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby on April 1, 2006