*Collins, James. Beginner's Greek. Little, Brown. Jan. 2008. c.448p. ISBN 978-0-316-02155-5. $23.99. F

Peter Russell, an up-and-coming financial trader, is a romantic at heart. As he boards a transcontinental flight to Los Angeles, he is eager to see who will sit next to him, fully expecting—if it’s a female—to find his true love. When the captivating Holly takes the seat, Peter is convinced he was right. Imagine his dismay after parting when he loses her phone number and realizes that he doesn’t know her last name. So begins this tale of star-crossed lovers and their circle of family and friends. Peter and Holly will each travel a perilous path over the years to come. Treacherous office politics, adulterous liaisons, and a host of fascinating characters round out the story. Despite the contemporary setting, Collins’s fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance—an omniscient and sometimes playful narrator, elegant prose that meanders through the lush terrain of disparate lives, an occasionally arch but always dulcet tone, frequent flashbacks, characters whose minds are plumbed (the females are especially well sounded), sophisticated dialog, and a much-delayed but delightful resolution. Jane Austin fans will feel right at home. Recommended for public libraries.

Library Journal, 132, no. 16 (October 1, 2007), 56, 58.

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