Faking It by Jennifer Crusie
Series: Dempseys #2
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: March 29th 2011
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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, the secret that she's willing to do almost anything to keep, including break 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 justbeen 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 break 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 hitman, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, a painting of three evil fisherman 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: What has reality ever done for you?
This is one of those novels I had to read more than once before I fell in love with it. The first time I read it, I was coming off the high of Welcome to Temptation and had high expectations for how this one would turn out. I was disappointed, no two ways about it.
But there’s a particular scene that stuck in my mind, so I decided to go back and do a re-read several months after reading it the first time. And you know what? I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Then, I re-read it again. And loved it even more. By my 5th re-read, my original opinion of this novel had drastically changed, and it has become one of my favorite Crusie novels.
One of the things I think Ms. Crusie excels at is writing characters with personality and depth. Davy and Tilda are both wonderful characters (from Tilda’s plug-in vibrator to Davy’s shady past) who compliment each other well. Both are quirky and fun, but have hidden depths.
The plot is an interesting and engaging one, if a bit on the ridiculous side. Though I do have to say, no one does ridiculous as well as Jenny Crusie does. As with all her novels, the secondary characters are a complete riot and fully enrich the story. I love Tilda’s crazy family and their interactions with each other.
Nadine sighed and opened a cupboard, taking down a loaf of whole wheat. “According to Grandma, there are two kinds of men in the world, doughnuts and muffins.”
“Is there anybody in your family who’s sane?”
“Define ‘sane’.” Nadine dropped two pieces of bread in Gwen’s yellow Fiesta toaster.
“Never mind,” Davy said. “Doughnuts and muffins.”
“Doughnuts are the guys that make you drool,” Nadine said, taking a jar of peanut butter from the cupboard. “They’re gorgeous and crispy and covered with chocolate icing and you see one and you have to have it, and if you don’t get it, you think about it all day and then you go back for it anyway, because it’s a doughnut.”
“Put some toast in for me when yours is done,” Davy said, suddenly ravenous.
Nadine pushed the bakery bag toward him. “There are pineapple-orange muffins in there.”
Davy fished one out. “You have a thing for pineapple-orange?”
“We have a thing for tangy,” Nadine said. “We like the twist.
“I picked that up,” Davy said. “So doughnuts make you drool.”
“Right, whereas muffins just sort of sit there all lumpy, looking alike, not chocolate icing at all.”
Davy looked at his muffin. It had a high golden crown, not lumpy at all. He shrugged and peeled the top off and took a bite. Tangy.
“And while muffins may be excellent,” Nadine went on, “especially the pineapple-orange ones, they’re no doughnuts.”
“So doughnuts are good,” Davy said, trying to keep up his end of the conversation.
“Well, yeah, for one night,” Nadine said, as her toast popped. She dropped in two more pieces for Davy and then dug into the peanut butter, slathering it on her bread like spackle. “But then the next morning, they’re not crisp anymore, and the icing is all stuck to the bag, and they have watery stuff all over them, and they’re icky and awful. You can’t keep a doughnut overnight.”
“Ah,” Davy said. “But a muffin -”
“Is actually better the next day,” Nadine finished. “Muffins are for the long haul and they always taste good. They don’t have that oh-my-God-I-have-to-have-that thing that the doughnuts have going for them, but you still want them the next morning. ” She bit into her toast with strong white teeth that were a testament to Dr. Mark.
Overall this might not seem like the best novel right off the bat, but if you stick with it and follow through, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what a gem of a story this is.
4.0 out of 5