Ex and the Single Girl

Maybe Baby

Crazy in Love by Lani Diane Rich
(Warner, 6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0446618243
Although it came out in the fall, Crazy in Love is going to be a great winter read.  It’s funny, quirky, and fast reading and just perfect for a snowy day and a cup of cocoa.  Or a shot of peppermint schnapps …

Flynn Daly is on the downhill slide to thirty.  Which wouldn’t bother her, except that it’s brought her distant-at-best father and her whirlwind of a sister (both of whom she loves dearly, but a girl’s got to live her own life) down on her head about getting a “real” job.  The family has decided it’s time for Flynn to join the real world - and the family business - instead of flitting from one career to the next and living in a neighborhood that scares the bejesus out of them.

Although she drags her feet, Flynn’s sister pulls a major guilt trip, and Flynn is soon on her way to (ugh!) a little town and an inn that was owned by a woman Flynn is told was her great-aunt Esther, now deceased.  Needless to say, being a big-city girl, this idea doesn’t thrill Flynn, nor does the prospect of being management - especially since she’s basically been sent to prepare the place for being sold, which means all of those people she’s managing will be out their jobs in short order.

Turns out, Flynn really likes those people; especially one cop-turned-bartender named Jake Tucker, despite the fact that Jake drags her into a personal vendetta that may very well involve the Goodhouse Arms country inn and get Flynn into the same condition as her aunt Esther.

As Flynn works through her inability to grown up and commit to anything, Tucker realizes it’s time he made a concentrated effort to get over the snafu that got him fired from the local police force.  Unfortunately for everyone involved, the developing problems at the inn may very well circle back to Jake’s early retirement scandal.

For a romance, this book has a very strong mystery element that moves it right along.  The characters are definitely wacky, but also very realistic, right down to the ghost of great-aunt Esther Goodhouse with her collection of cows and her penchant for a little bedtime tipple.

There is also the added benefit of this book’s hilarity; Crazy in Love reads almost like a sitcom.  This would be a good read for Jenny Crusie fans, as would several of Rich’s earlier paperbacks (Maybe Baby, The Comeback Kiss).  However, Crazy in Love does not resemble Rich’s trade paperbacks such as Ex and the Single Girl or Time Off for Good Behavior.  Those books, though made to look like light-hearted women’s fiction, even potentially chick lit, are more along the lines of dramatic fiction.  Though they are also wonderful reads, there is a definite difference between those works and Rich’s latest.

So, for a fun read that isn’t so sappy it makes you gag but is funny enough to make you choke on whatever you’re eating, try out another guilty pleasure, Crazy in Love.

--Sarrah Knight

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