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Rereading Jenny: Trust Me on This

January 21, 2014

[Spotlights contain spoilers.]

This is the final book that was printed by one of the four-books-a-month-we-love-formula titles.  In this case, it was Loveswept, who once again seems to be keeping the naughty stuff out and instead Crusie plays to another of her strengths: subverting expectations and cliches.  In this case, the supposedly secondary couple is actually in some ways the primary couple of the story.

This NEVER happens.  But it has here.

I originally didn’t love Trust Me on This.  I knew it was funny, and I really liked a lot of the characters, buuuuut I didn’t “get it.”  I didn’t get that Alec was smart and clever, I couldn’t tell when he was being Alec or playing dumb, I was confused about the plot–and I don’t get why I was, because it’s pretty clear if you don’t go in with a headful of expectations.

But first:

The female lead: Dennie, who is ruled by ambition

The male lead: Alec, once again doing the whole “you’re a FEMINIST?” thing, even though his aunt is, so once again, can’t tell if he’s playing her

The…uh…other female lead?: Victoria, Alec’s aunt

The OTHER male lead???: Harry, Alec’s boss

No, seriously.  Harlequin specifically says in their guidelines that secondary characters shouldn’t be carrying the show, but this book begins and ends on Victoria and Harry, by definition making it their book.  But they’re in their 50s/60s, generally thought of as past the age of sex & romance.

The hell they are.

The plot: Alec and Harry catch con men for a living.  Alec has a feeling that a crook who keeps slipping through their fingers, Brian Bond, will be making an appearance at a pop culture and literature conference, because people think that professors make hella more than they do.  His aunt Victoria is speaking there and she thinks he should get out more, so he agrees to meet up with her, even though his boss thinks he’s being crazy.  Why THAT?

But it’s true.  Brian Bond will be there, and they know he works with a brunette.

Dennie, meanwhile, is using her vacation time to try to move up in the journalism world: she got a scoop that a famous feminist writer’s husband is leaving her, and she wants to get the story first.  This woman made her career on a book called The Feminist Marriage, so this is a Big Deal and might get her off the weddings-and-grand-openings beat.

She is also a brunette.

So Alec thinks she’s the accomplice, despite evidence to the contrary that’s making him lose his mind, as are glimpses of her bra when she leans over.  Meanwhile, Victoria agrees to help the investigation by pretending to be interested in Bond’s scheme, which puts Harry right where she wants him.

It’s supposed to be a hotel farce, and it is, and it’s VERY funny, but there are things about it I just don’t really care for, mostly the fake-seduction by Dennie at the end.  It seems a lot like entrapment, but I’m no police officer/lawyer.

I think it would make a better movie than a book, maybe?

It’s funny because I really enjoyed it this time around, but that scene is just TOO over the top and ruins the end a bit for me.

Can’t tell you what’s sexier, though, Alec & Dennie or Victoria & Harry.  I mean, I’m a bad person to ask because I’m not in it for the sex, but there’s so much chemistry between both couples, and it’s not the same kind of chemistry, you know what I mean?  It’s wonderful.

Covers!  The one above is the original, kinda dull.  The reissue is far, far worse.



The skinny-people-and-skinny-things cover is the best of the b(l)a(h)d:


At least it’s something to do with the plot.

What else?  Not much, really.  Because it’s all based in a hotel, there isn’t a lot in the way of community, although there are Victoria’s friends.  They’re as flat as Victoria and Harry are rounded, though.  Is the ditzy one really a professor?  Why is the divorcing one SO escalate-y?  Why does Dennie make a big deal of her bff but we’re just told and told until it feels contrived?

Not her best work, I have to say.  And kind of a sad way to end things.

Next up: her first “real” book, and boy, is it a doozy.  And DARK, I forgot how dark.

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