Faking It, by Jennifer Crusie

>> Thursday, February 10, 2005

Faking It )excerpt), by Jennifer Crusie is a sequel (or rather, a kind of spin-off, as Crusie calls it) to Welcome to Temptation, one of my favourites by her.

Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who have run a respectable art gallery for generations. There’s Gwen, the matriarch, who sedates herself with Double-Crostics and double vodkas; Eve, the oldest daughter, who has a slight identity problem (she has two); and Nadine, the granddaughter, who’s ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn’t leading off a cliff. Holding everyone together is Matilda, the youngest daughter, who’s inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, a secret that she’s willing to do almost anything to keep, including breaking into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.

Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who’s just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that, he’ll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including breaking into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.

One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hit man, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a jukebox stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, a painting of three evil fishermen closing in on a dyspeptic tuna, multiple personalities, miscellaneous Goodnights and Dempseys, and the growing realization that they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be... or the people they were born to love.
Faking It was tremendously enjoyable, full of wit and humour and likeable characters. A B+ for me.

I was a bit surprised at how much I liked it, actually, because I had resisted reading it for a while, since I'm not really attracted by the whole "con man meets woman part of a hugely dysfunctional family" thing it seemed to be about. However, very suprisingly to me, I really liked the con angle. I'm a bit uptight about thief characters and all that, but I loved that part of Davy, probably because he had it well under control now. But anyway, I was weirdly charmed by the way his first instict when faced with a situation was to figure out how he could work a con. ;-) And the dysfunctional family in question was a blast. Evie with her alter ego, Gwennie pretending to be happy, Nadine's struggles to find her way... the whole secondary cast of characters made the book shine.

Tilda and Davy were lovely together, too, and I really appreciated how Crusie dared show a first time which wasn't at all good, as they sometimes aren't. It made me cheer even harder for these two. I felt, as I don't often feel, that they really understood each other, under the fake facades they were used to wearing.

Such fun, it even makes me want to give Fast Women another chance!


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