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Second Prize [Paperback]

Chrissie Manby
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 April 1998 Perspectives in Human Biology
Lara Fenton is resigned to life on the shelf, especially now her best friend Julie's got engaged. But then Lara is swept off her feet by the divine Hugh Armstrong-Hamilton - and suddenly nothing can spoil her happiness. Hugh has his faults - Lara can't deny that - but who cares if he cancels dates at the last minute? What does it matter if he never picks up the bill? Lara can even put up with the insults from his snooty friends. Just to be seen on the arm of someone like Hugh is consolation enough. After Hugh, any man would seem like second prize. And Lara would never be able to settle for that. Or would she . . .?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet; 2 edition (16 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340689625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340689622
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Manby is the author of romantic comedy novels including GETTING OVER MR RIGHT and WHAT I DID ON MY HOLIDAYS. She has also written a guide for aspiring chick lit writers called WRITING FOR LOVE.

Chris now writes as Chrissie Manby - find out more on Chrissie's Amazon author page or

Product Description


Praise for Chris Manby's latest novel: LIZZIE JORDAN'S SECRET LIFE:

'Hilarious city-girl comedy with a message about facing up to who you are' Cosmopolitan

With a marriage of comic invention and some clear-sighted emotional honesty, this novel can move as well as amuse' Good Book Guide

'Feelgood romantic comedy for those experiencing, anticipating or vaguely remembering thirtysomething angst' Scotsman

Book Description

A poignant yet hilarious tale of unrequited love from the bestselling author of LIZZIE JORDAN'S SECRET LIFE.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A giggle a minute! 3 April 2000
By A Customer
Ever heard someone giggling as they read on the train or bus? Well I "guffawed" over this book (and I didn't realize that you could guffaw without being an Upper-class Henry Sackville-Smythe with a pile in the country and a cellar of Bordeaux). This is a fantastic read, which I feel has unfairly been categorized to the "city girl who likes romance" genre. The neon cover gives this unearned impression, but the book holds much more than the usual predictable plot of "ugly duckling becomes a swan" makeover. Lara's character is realistic and cringe worthy; when you yearn Lara to wow the men in a dress, she stumbles along in scruffy jeans and a toothpaste stained jumper. Enjoy this book - it's wonderful for firelight reading or beach bronzing alike, just mind you guffaw out loud!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and hard to categorize - worth a look. 12 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Second Prize is certainly not one of those intense, character rich, complex stories. On the other hand, it's not a one-joke wonder. You can tell right off that Hugh is bad news, but at first he seems like harmless enough bad news. The kind someone could have a bit of fun with. And frankly, you can understand why Lara isn't wildly attracted to Simon. But as the story progresses, you - through the character of Lara - start to change your opinion. Meanwhile, throughout the book are some very, very funny scenes (the hide-and-seek is both funny and poignant - you keep thinking "this would happen to me"!) Loved the ending - everyone got what they deserved!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny stuff 28 Dec 2001
I've just finished reading second best which is really funny and so enjoyable to read. And the thing is it pin points the exact same things i do for so called "love" only you can really laugh at other people doing em this time round. i think this book also gives you a lesson in life that is never settle for second best
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 21 April 2006
By Kez
I picked this book up yesterday afternoon and didnt put it down till late last night when i had finished it! I think that anyone who reads this will see abit of themselves in Lara. A very good read, i even found myself cringing at some of her antics, screaming at some of her shear blindness and laughing outloud, another fantastic book by Chris Manby, i highly recomend this!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun 90s read 25 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Lara Fenton is the archetypical chick-lit lead character who tells us all about a year in her life in the mid 1990s. I took this to be 1996, given that the book was published in 1997 and featured an epilogue set in the then present. Reading 18 years into the future, the mid-90s setting gave me many amusing moments such as references to Safeway supermarket (non-existent), Mini Metro (who owns one now?), her mum hoping she would marry Prince Edward (where was Sophie?), Dateline computer dating, the telephone ringing at 5 am with messages being left on the answerphone (telephone! Land line!) and listening to Depeche Mode which was “a tape I quite liked”.

It was actually quite refreshing not to read about iPhones, iPods, iPads, apps, Facebook and Twitter and this provided a really interesting contrast alongside the sharp parallels with Ashleigh’s tale in Getting Over Mr Right, which I had just finished the day before (same hapless, dippy main character with a terrible love-life history who moons and acts silly over a totally unsuitable guy whilst her best friend prepares to get married in the same London locations such as Balham). So there is really nothing new in the world of chick-lit!

The perception of second prize is an initial reference to Lara’s best mate Julie’s fiancé Andrew who she ended up with after her attempts to snag mega-rich banker Hugh Armstrong-Hamilton came to nothing, but quickly realised she was much happier with Andrew. Hugh meets Lara in the kitchen at the engagement party (another retro reference going on here?) when she is instantly besotted, and we follow her as she recounts her tale of trying to fit in with his pompous mates and impress Hugh, who we can all see is an out and out ratbag.
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