Welcome To Temptation, by Jennifer Crusie

>> Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Welcome To Temptation (check out this page at the author's site. It has some fascinating stuff, like the movie quotes used in the book), by Jennifer Crusie

All Sophie Dempsey wants to do is help her sister make a video of a washed-up actress and get out of town before they get into trouble. The daughter of generations of con men, Sophie's trying to walk the straight and narrow, but it's, well, difficult.

All Mayor Phineas Tucker wants to do is run Temptation with as little fuss as possible and win his upcoming election without cutting into the time he needs for his real passion: playing pool. The son of generations of mayors, Phin's trying to be an upstanding citizen, but it's, well, boring.

It only takes one look before Sophie knows that Phin's the kind of boy her mother used to warn her about-- a fast-talking town boy-- and Phin knows she's the kind of woman his father told him to stay away from-- the devil's candy.

And in no time at all, boredom is the least of their difficulties. Gossip, adultery, and blackmail; pornography, politics, and murder; vehicular abuse of a corpse and slightly perverse but really excellent sex: all hell is breaking loose in Temptation, Ohio, while Sophie and Phin fall deeper and deeper in trouble . . . and in love.
Oh, wow! This was Crusie at her best. A solid A.

This is definitely my kind of humour. Intelligent, not afraid to poke fun at some sacred cows, a little black, at times and lots and lots of witty banter. Also, Crusie has a very distinctive way of writing, especially dialogue, and I enjoyed every word.

The plot was entertaining. Even when it turned into a murder case, this served to continue the general wackiness. And the running gag about the cause of death was black humour at its best!

As for the characters, well, Sophie wasn't particularly original, as the girl from the crooked family who wants to go straight, but who is capable of sacrificing everything for her grown sister who should know better. Still, the doormat behaviour wasn't as much as it could have been, so I did enjoy her. Phin, however, I adored. He felt fresh, especially in that he was an unambitious guy, who doesn't really want the responsability of being mayor, but would rather prefer to run his bookstore in peace and play pool. This all makes for a most excellent ending ;-)

I especially liked, too, that for a small-town romance, this was remarkably anti-conservative. I'm showing my bias here, but that was a definite plus for me, even though I freely accept Crusie sometimes does cross the line into preaching.

The sex here deserves a separate mention. This was also a steaming hot read. The "slightly perverse sex" description in the blurb is spot-on. It was borderline kinky, and very, very exciting.

I'm afraid this was the last Crusie book I enjoyed, but I'm looking forward to reading her next, Bet Me, which I'm hoping I'll like.


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