My Favorite Romance Author
Every so often, I like to go to the bookstore and just glance through authors I've never read. I've found some great books that way. That was how I found Jennifer Crusie, or Jenny Crusie as she likes to be called. Usually, I like my romance mixed in with a good mystery or suspense novel but when I read the back of Tell Me Lies, I was intrigued. The main character, Maddie Faraday, is a "nice" person. She lives in a small town where everyone knows everything that goes on in their neighbors' lives. One sunny, summer morning while cleaning out her husband's car, she discovers he's cheating on her. When she goes to confide in her best friend since childhood, Treva, she realizes Treva's a little crazier than usual. Then enter the man she lost her virginity to 20 years ago and things really get interesting. I devoured this book in less than a day. I absolutely loved Jennifer Crusie's writing style. She combined quirky characters, a fast moving plot and a snappy sense of humor to create a fantastic read. I went back out to that book store and bought everything I could find written by her. Finally, I'd found a romance writer who didn't make me want to gag.
Jennifer Crusie is a pen name used by Jennifer Smith. Born in 1949 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, she decided to use her maternal grandmother's maiden name to write under. She has earned two Master's Degrees; one in Professional Writing and Women's Literature and the other in Fiction. She has also completed work towards a Ph.D. in feminist criticism and nineteenth century British and American literature. She is a master at her craft.
Crusie fell into writing while working on her Ph.D. dissertation. She wrote her first manuscript, Bet Me in 1992 but couldn't sell it. In 1995, she published Tell Me Lies with St. Martin's Press after three years of writing for Harlequin and Silhouette. Many others followed. However it wasn't until in 2004, when the rewritten, Bet Me was released, that she had a novel on the New York Times Best Seller List. This novel also won a Romance Writers of America Award for Best Contemporary Single Title in 2005.
Since 2004, Crusie has been collaborating with adventure novelist, Bob Mayer. They wrote Don't Look Down primarily via emails. Crusie wrote the scenes and dialogue for the female character while Mayer did the same for her male counterpart. 2007 New York Times Best Seller, Agnes and the Hitman, was their second project. Crusie has also collaborated with Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart on The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, published in 2007; and Anne Stuart again on Dogs and Goddesses in 2009.
After reading all of Jennifer Crusie's books, I have to say I have loved every single one. Her protagonists are all unconventional, strong women at different stages in their lives. They are far from perfect; they are human. Their flaws make it so much easier to love them and laugh with them over their trials and tribulations. The best part of Jenny Crusie's books is that these wonderful women don't need a man to save them. They are not your typical damsels in distress. Mostly, they just need a little help remembering who they are; with or without a man.
My Favorite Novel by Jenny Crusie
My favorite novel by Jenny Crusie, by far is Faking It. Published in 2002, it's actually the second in a series; a rarity for her. It's about a failing art gallery and the extremely dysfunctional family that runs it. Mainly, Tilda Goodnight, an artist who's father pushed her into the family "business" of art forgery. Tilda has enough and leaves home to live her own life and ends up painting copies of the masters as murals for the rich and unimaginative. She meets Davy Dempsey when they both try to burgle the same bedroom one night. Hilarity ensues. It's a wonderful story about coming to terms with who you are and loving yourself anyway. I tell every woman I know, if you love to laugh, read this book. Or any of Jenny Crusie's work, for that matter. You really can't go wrong.
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