The Love List
by Dave Dearman
Xlibris NZ

"She was almost tempted to be a little adventurous, experimental even."

Jenny Wintle is a highly successful merchant banker in London with her life figured out. She has an exciting career, wonderful city-living, and a nice, although somewhat bland, boyfriend. Enter Xavier De Souza, an aggressive new client who refuses to do business with women. After an initial meeting where the two butt heads, Jenny finds herself drawn to De Souza, figuratively and literally as she’s transferred to her company’s new Singapore office to work with De Souza’s company, Eastern Construction. Before Jenny leaves, her flatmate, Linda, gives her “The Love List,” a cheeky eight-step guide to getting and keeping a man. While Jenny uses it sparingly, the list’s advice proves useful in navigating the playing field of East Asian business politics and forces both Jenny and Xavier to be more honest in their dealings.

A romantic comedy premise mixed with a bit of danger, this book is an enjoyable, lighthearted read. The author does a great job at building the chemistry between Jenny and Xavier through witty exchanges in the boardrooms and softer moments as well. The romance between the two is less of a whirlwind and more of an earthquake, with both of them tiptoeing around the obvious so as not to mess up business dealings, and it provides for some great, playful dialogue. The author also succeeds in transporting the reader to Singapore and Malaysia with vivid descriptions of both countries. He captures the cultural differences, as well, without reducing them to one-off stereotypes. Although the love list itself only comes into play for a few pivotal moments, the author manages to make a seemingly sexist concept into a much more interesting idea about respect and authenticity in relationships.

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