Every Wednesday between now and June I’m going to be talking about my favorites – movies, books, whatever, and giving those away to share the love. Today I’m going to start with Jenny Crusie’s Welcome To Temptation, which is one of my favorite contemporary romances of all time.
From Jennifer Crusie’s Website:
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.
When I read this book it was a huge epiphany for me. I came to romance in my mid 30’s and when I did, I binged across genre lines to see what I liked most and didn’t like at all. Welcome To Temptation is a book that gives me hope. It’s a funny book with flawed people all trying to figure their way through some crazy stuff. Mainly crazy family stuff, but also just crazy small town stuff. Phin, the hero is a single father and his daughter (and this is a feature in Crusie’s writing that I really adore) is so much more than an accessory to try to make him look fatherly or stable. He’s stumbling his way through like every other parent, and his struggle is relatable, even as it’s the silly stuff of a novel. Sophie is a fabulous heroine. She’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. She’s *real* and her dealings with her siblings and the crazy people of the town were really well done.
The chemistry between Sophie and Phin is like a master class in fiction writing. So well done and again, relatable.
Really I can’t do justice to how much I love this book and these characters. But it inspired me then and it inspires me today. It makes me proud to be a romance writer and proud to be a fan of Crusie’s books.
What do you all think of flawed characters? Yes? No? Any faves of your own? So – would you like to win a copy of Welcome To Temptation? Winner will be chosen from the comments to this blog entry and announced on the next prize announcement day, April 2. All winners are responsible for checking back here to see if they’ve won.