I read my first novel by Jennifer Crusie in September 2010 thanks to Tracy who sent me a copy of Welcome to Temptation. The following month in October 2010, Nath came to visit and recommended and gifted me with Anyone But You (plus quite a few other books in Crusie's backlist). The book has been sitting in my TBR pile ever since. So, thanks to both Tracy for convincing me to read this author, and to Nath for recommending this book.
She was beginning life fresh -- new job, new apartment. No husband. All she wanted was a puppy. A happy, perky puppy. Instead she got Fred. Part Basset, part beagle, part manic-depressive.Anyone But You was first released by Harlequin in 1996 under their Love & Laughter line. I chose to read it not just because of the author, but hoping that the story would be filled would love and laughter. It was.
Nina loved Fred. Everything was great. Well, her best friend went through men like tissues and somehow Nina had to single-handedly save the company she worked for, but her life was great. Until Fred brought home Alex Moore -- poster boy for lonely women. No, no, no she yelled at her hormones and her heart. Anyone but Alex.
Still, Fred did have very good taste...
Nina moves to her new apartment after a divorce. She's finally happy with her life as is except that she wants a perky dog to keep her company. But when it comes down to it, instead of choosing a perky little dog to cheer herself up, falls in love with the smelly, depressed-looking Fred in a scene that immediately hooked me on this story. By next day Fred brings home drool-worthy Alex Moore, the gorgeous downstairs neighbor. Soon the attraction turns out to be mutual, and even after Nina finds out Alex is an ER doctor, she keeps reminding herself that he's just a kid.
The two become friends who share their daily concerns and well... Fred. The attraction grows but here's the main conflict between Nina and Alex, age. Nina just turned forty and Alex just turned thirty, so this romance has an older woman/younger man theme. Of course Alex doesn't care about the age difference, but to Nina this is a big deal.
This was an enjoyable read for me with the promised love and laugh out loud moments here and there. The main characters in the story are likable and fun. There are really three main characters: Nina, Alex and Fred. They are a trio, and their scenes together are the best. Oreo cookies, milk, and a special bra become part of their intimate, relationship-building moments, and a watchful Fred doesn't just bring this couple together, he becomes a witness to more than just their movie nights.
He looked at Fred.Whether you are a dog lover or not, these scenes are there to be enjoyed. :)
"Pay attention. You may pick up some pointers here."
Nina moved against the pillow. "He's just a child. He shouldn't be watching."
Although this is a short, quick read, the romance is stretched out throughout and well developed. Nina and Alex become friends first as Alex basically woos Nina in a sideways sort of way, and Nina accepts that wooing even while telling herself that she's too old for him. I love the apartment window-hopping, Alex's miscalculations when it comes to wardrobe (loved the Daffy Duck shorts), and their movie nights together, plus once they get between the sheets there is more than sizzle between them.
There is a conflict that arises because of those age insecurities mentioned above, both Nina's and interestingly enough Alex's. Having read a few of Crusie's books now, I found it interesting that even this short, fun book touches on certain themes found in her later novels: dysfunctional and unhappy wealthy families, cold, uncaring parents (see dysfunctional families), couples that might not want a family, and a yearning for a simpler life as the ideal for happiness.
There are not too many secondary characters in this short story, but the ones that are highlighted are excellent. I particularly like Alex's brother Max and Nina's best friend Charity, both secondary characters that show personal growth throughout this short romance without taking the focus away from the main couple. Plus the upstairs senior neighbors, Norma and Rich, are a wonderful addition that contribute to the overall story.
Anyone But You is light, funny and fun, and although it is a bit dated with 1990's pop culture references, reading this contemporary romance is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Plus, if you haven't read it yet, good luck with not falling in love with Fred!
|Theme: Recommended Read
Publisher/Release Date: Harlequin/August 1, 1996
Source: Gift from Nath
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