Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Pages: 447 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Thirty-two-year-old Sophie Dempsey and her younger sister Amy have been running a wedding-video company in Cincinnati for seven years. Their staid existence is boring Amy to tears, but is just what Sophie wants. She has a strong need to make up for the fact that her family is less than respectable. Her father and brother are both con artists, and Amy has more than a touch of that habit inside her that Sophie has worked hard to wean her from.
Sophie and Amy get an offer from Clea, a former lover of their older brother Davy, to do a documentary of the beautiful, but marginally successful actress's return to her home town, Temptation, Ohio, after twenty years away. Sophie hesitates. She doesn't trust Clea. Neither does Amy, but she snaps at the chance anyway and drags Sophie along. Amy sees this as a great opportunity to make a film that can open doors for her in Los Angeles. Not Sophie. She feels "a chill, courtesy, she was sure, of the sixth sense that had kept generations of Dempseys out of jail most of the time."
Sophie's premonitory chill proves right on target. The documentary snowballs into "vanilla porn" and the small town of Temptation is up in arms. Phineas T. Tucker, the thirty-six-year old hereditary mayor who hails from a long line of Tucker mayors of Temptation, must deal with "those movie people out at Clea's." He soon finds out that Sophie Dempsey is the biggest problem he's ever known. One he may never be able to solve. Or want to.
Welcome to Temptation is fast-paced and witty. Wonderfully, it is not just a "light" book, as most comedies are. It is actually, frequently, laugh-out-loud funny. Crusie's cast of characters is colorful, and each one is both uniquely characterized with a fascinating personal voice and a significant contribution to the ensemble-based conflicts that roll the story along. Most fun and exciting of all, and central to the story, is a simmering affair between Phin and Sophie that explodes to life from the moment they meet.
Note: Some "gentle readers" may object to certain language that appears within the erotic fantasies Phin fulfills for Sophie, and she for him. This includes the notorious "F word." This reader, however, not being particularly "gentle," found all of the love scenes both hot and hilarious.
Very, very few writers of comedy are capable of writing erotic love scenes in the midst of a hilarious romp. Crusie can. And does it exquisitely well.
A real keeper!
I rate this book as follows:
Romantic Comedy Plot: 5