Katie: I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it years ago, and recently came across it again when I was looking for something else on my Kindle. I was curious to to find what you thought about it, and to see if it held up over time. So many romances really don’t.
Quinn is a small-town art teacher. She dates Bill, the school’s (and the town’s for that matter) favorite baseball coach. She’s a sweetheart, adored by her students and mildly annoyed by the interim principal of her school. (She calls him the Boy Principal in her head.) Quinn is also secretly in love with her sister’s ex-husband, Nick, and has been for years – YEARS – but stays with Bill out of habit.
Then one day she finds a stray dog, the saddest, ugliest dog ever, which is described as the embodiment of a raw nerve. She falls in love with the dog and Bill hates it on sight. She names it Katie. Bill tries to abandon Katie at the pound…
Patty: [whispering] I’ve done that. Twice. Same dog.
Katie: …and is then stunned when Quinn breaks up with him over that. I completely get that – I’m not so sure about Patty. She doesn’t like dogs. (Something is obviously WRONG with her.)
Patty: It’s not that I hate dogs, I would just rather not share a home with one. I’m a cat person. Besides, the dog in this book never PEED ON MY HAIR WHILE I WAS SLEEPING. What are the odds my ex-husband will read this? Ah, fuck it. HEY, ANDREW – NEWSFLASH: SHE’S NOT ON A FARM IN VERMONT.
Ever had to drive around to every CVS within a 20 mile radius at 3 am, buying boxes of Summer’s Eve because the fucking dog got into a skunk’s nest AGAIN and you cannot bring yourself to buy more than three boxes at a clip because, again, it’s 3 am and you are buying douche? It wasn’t even our dog! Someone died and we got stuck with it!
Katie: Patty, my friend. Did no one ever tell you this: the best way to cure eau de skunk is to bathe the affected creature in tomato juice. Seriously. When Girl mistakes one for a fluffy cat and gets sprayed, now you know how to fix the problem. I have no such concerns about Boy – he is a sensible creature and stays inside.
Patty: Someone told us douche worked better than tomato juice. Regardless, the book: So Bill is one of those guys with a Plan and a Timeline and a dog simply was not one of the things on his dream board. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just…
Katie: Fixated? Not right? Crazy? Nuts? Psycho? I mean, we’re talking about a guy who goes to some pretty extreme measures to get Quinn back.
Patty: Yeah… He got a little, um, INTENSE. At first it was funny and then very unfunny. What’s weird is that if Bill were our protagonist/love interest, his actions and domineering ways would have been par for the Alpha male course; because he wasn’t though, it’s all OH NO HE DI-IN’T!
Katie: True that. Nick, the hero, is a good guy, but not at any time would I refer to him as an alpha male. Actually, one of the things that I appreciated most about this book is that all of the characters (not just the main two) feel like real people, and they all have actual development. And, considering that it was written twenty years ago or so, I think it’s amazing that the author was unafraid of going where she did with characters and plot line. (This is so hard to talk about without being spoiler-y.)
Patty: What was that thing you said? “They can’t all be Navy Seals.” Amen. Nick is so normal. I can’t remember the last time I read a romance novel with a guy that was just a guy and not Super Testosterone Penis Avenger of Improbable Emotional Depth.
More importantly: Twenty years ago? Get OUT! Wow… Crusie’s got balls. But yeah, the supporting character plot lines are as entertaining as our main story. Lots of fun and a HEA. Score!
Katie: Okay, I just checked, and it was 1999, but I think she was still ahead of her time. Kudos to Ms. Crusie for a gutsy job well done.