by Louise Forster
We lived in The Netherlands for a couple of years, and soon discovered that Dutch spoken at home was quite different to trying keep up with relatives talking through and over each other. Never mind TV announcers who seemed to speak Dutch, plum-in-mouth, which was equally daunting. Television was appalling and the winter nights were long. I needed something to occupy my mind so I ventured into the attic of the house we were renting. I soon discovered said places are always dimly lit, and creepy to explore; a bit like tingles along your spine all the way up to the back of your neck, making your scalp prickle. Nevertheless, creeped out, but determined, I hesitantly poked around and discovered books with English titles. Eureka! Neatly stored in a bookcase, were John Steinbeck, Somerset Maugham, and oh my god, Henry Miller; he blew the cobwebs right out of my prissy upbringing.
Then Jennifer Crusie stole my romantic reading heart.
Her books were and still are a delight. There are two that stand out for me: Agnes and the Hit Man and Fast Women. If I had to choose it would be have to be Fast Women. I loved crazy Nell and grumpy Gabe.
The opening para is absolutely brilliant:
‘The man behind the cluttered desk looked like the devil, and Nell Dysart figured that was par for the course since she’d been going to hell for a year and a half anyway. Meeting Gabriel McKenna just meant she’d arrived.’
Who’s Nell? why was her life hell? Who is Gabriel and what made Nell think he looked like the devil? Fantastic, I was hooked. Surely this would have any non-romance reader intrigued as well.
Jennifer Crusie’s dialogue is always brilliant. Her characters draw the reader in, and make you want the whole business of an unlikely romance work out. Gabe is a private detective and his office is exactly how he likes it … a bit of a shrine to his late father who passed away twenty years ago. Livewire, Nell, hired to type and file, thinks the whole place needs updating. Mindful of grump Gabe, she starts carefully with a good clean out and uncovers a mystery involving Gabe’s dad and her ex’s family. There’s plenty of humour, and the intricate plot would keep anyone turning the page.
Just to add more reading fun the whimsical china called Walking Ware features in this book.
Louise Forster grew up in country Victoria, but has seen quite a bit of the world. Experiencing different cultures, she learned that one of the enjoyable things to do was step back and watch as events played out. It fascinated her how European and Australian men romanced women, which differed for every country, yet, happily, the outcome was the same … usually. 😉 Her latest book pits a small town teacher against the wounded soldier who just wants to keep her safe.