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Anyone But You (Hqn Romance) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 2006
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"One of the funniest, sexiest romances of the year." -- Library Journal on Anyone But You
About the Author
Jennifer Crusie is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of Tell Me Lies, Crazy for You, Welcome to Temptation, Faking It, Fast Women, and Bet Me. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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And then the hero and heroine meet. And there goes the chemistry, the great dialogue, and the focus being on the dog.
The obstacle to the romance (there always has to be one, we're told) is that the heroine, Nina, is ten years older than the hero, Alex. That's it. Not surprisingly, this does not make for a lot of angst, misadventure--though the author tries, and fails, with some slapstick bra humor (seriously?). It doesn't make for a lot of anything except ennui.
Usually I like a book with a lot of dialogue, which this book has, but it's not very interesting dialogue, and neither are the characters. Even when you think you're going to get some wonderfully eccentric characters, like the older couple in Nina's and Alex's apartment building, they turn out to be your typical older voice of wisdom who tell the younger couple how to do things right.
I think the main problem is that the author must have issues with older women getting together with younger men, because she can't seem to bring herself to give more than lip service to the idea of these two people having a romance. When they hang out they do things that an aunt would do with a nephew, or a mom with a college age son. That's the vibe I get from these two. So when the author starts to sex things up I was embarrassed and repelled. That's not what a romance reader is looking for, by the way.
So, here's the main problem. Alex and his brother Max have great chemistry and are a fun couple. Nina and her friend Charity have great chemistry and are a fun couple. Nina and the dog Fred have great chemistry and are a fun couple.
The main couple of the book? Nina and Alex? Fun with great chemisty? Not so much.
I would give this two stars because I had to force myself to read it to the end, but I'm giving it three stars because the beginning was so doggone good. And, because of the beginning, I'd be willing to give Cruisie another try and hope she can live up to all the good things I've heard about her.
Nina has her 40th birthday after a divorce from her self-centered husband and is attempting to begin a new life that will be just for her. She wants a puppy. She gets Fred. Part beagle, part bassett hound, who looks like he just lost his best friend. She is delighted with him. She lives on the third floor and teaches Fred to go out the window and down the fire escape to the enclosed back yard. On the second floor lives a just turned 30 year old ER doctor - Alex. Fred chooses Alex's window instead of Nina's and the romp begins.
Crusie dialogue is funny and the plot is fun. There is a 76 year old upstairs neighbor, a ditzy friend and Alex's brother all in the mix When I feel a little down, I pick this book to make me happy. So far, I have loved every Crusie book (that she wrote alone) and own them all, and re-read them often. You simply cannot miss with Jennifer Crusie.
Her characters are fun, identifiable, and real. Her prose is tight; the imagery pops off the page. This story flows quickly and smoothly -- not a single part drags, and there's not a single unnecessary word in the story that doesn't serve to further the story. Undoubtedly, she is a role model for tight, well-written, gripping romance.
And while the dog was one of the highlight characters in the book, Nina as a 40-something lead was the perfect blend of empowered and self-conscious, struggling with starting a new path and determined to make it all work. Alex, on the other hand, was a smoldering young doc, the perfect blend of headstrong and green, successful and modest. These characters rocked -- and as all of Jennifer Crusie's novels show, these characters are what hook us, make us fall in love, and leave us always looking for more.
Other than that, the plot and characters were funny and fine!