As I said in previous entries, I've never been much of a contemp reader. Or comedy for that matter. I tend towards the long angsty historicals. But I like to think of myself of at least open-minded and ready to try new things if given enough reasons. So on the strength of some very strong recommendations, I picked this one up at my library last week.
First off, I will say that the beginning chapters were a little shaky for me. And that may have more to do with my inexperience with this author's style of writing. I felt a little bit like I was coming into a story that was already in full swing and I was missing some things. Who are these two girls and what's going on? Then all of the sudden more characters keep popping up. ack! Am I slow on the uptake? Oh wait, no, it just takes me a few pages to get things straight. Cool. Alright, I think I'm tracking now...
Do I need to do a plot synopsis thingy? Everyone else in the romance reading universe but me seems to have read this book already. Basic premise: Sophie Dempsey and her sister Amy have a little video business where they tape weddings and somehow they get this gig doing a video for a one-hit wonder "movie star" in said star's podunk hometown. Then there's the local mayor, Phineas Tucker. Yeah, that's right, his name is Phineas. *snort* I know I certainly was skeptical about the romantic hero potential of a character with such a name. But there's something mysteriously sexy about the nickname Phin. Oh and talk about sexy. *fans self* Phin has this very casual, elegant and self-assured manner that borders on flippant at times but ultimately just seems very...what's the word...effortless? Oh and he's freakin' FUNNY!
Sophie jerked her head around to look at him. He had stretched out on the dock with his hands behind his head, and he was looking at the stars, too, pretty much ignoring her.
"She fell in love with a bear?"
"No, a bear ate her." Phin rolled his head to look at her. "Appalachia is not big on silly love songs."
"A bear ate her," Sophie shook her head. "Leave it to you to think that's romantic."
"The song's beautiful," Phin looked back at the stars. "It ends with her ghost wearing a crown of sorrow. Very romantic."
"Dead women are not romantic," Sophie said flatly.
"Okay, she's not dead," Phin said. "The bear ate her, and she came her brains out."
Sophie felt her laugh spurt before she could stop herself. "Oh, very nice. That's not romantic either."
"It is if you do it right."
Sophie thought about it. "I must not be doing it right."
"It wouldn't be you that isn't doing it right," Phin said. "It'd be the bear."
I really did laugh out loud when I read that scene. One thing that Crusie obviously does well is humor. But it doesn't feel forced (*cough*Evanovich*cough*) or wander toooo far into schtick. Yeah, I guess the word I was looking for is effortless.
Ok, so certain town folk are convinced that the video Sophie and Amy are making is actually porn. Phin is being leaned on by some in the city council to shut the production down; in the meantime he and Sophie are getting into a relationship. It starts off as just sex, no strings attached. This was actually pretty refreshing to me. They're two adults, indulging themselves without loads of guilt. It's interesting to see how their sexual chemistry turns to affection which turns to a deeper connection which ultimately leads to love. I felt that despite all the zany goings-on and wacky characters wandering in and out of the plot (did I mention we get a murder mystery thrown in to boot?), there is still a pretty consistent focus on Phin and Sophie and what's going on in both their heads.
I have one (minor) complaint and that has to do with the random movie quotations that Sophie likes to throw in. I found it odd that this would bother me because in real life, I myself like to quote movies. So call me a hypocrite. But half of the references went straight over my head (my fault for having been brought up outside the US) and the others weren't all that hilarious. Not to mention I didn't always see the extra "" marks and just read them as dialogue and then got confused. But this is a minor thing and didn't detract too much from my overall positive experience.
I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and made me laugh. The dialogue was witty and the characters were interesting. The only real question I had upon finishing it was....does smooth-lovin'-criminal Davy Dempsey get his own book?