Bibliophile reviews Anyone but you by Jennifer Crusie

Year published: 1996
Genre: Romance
Setting & time: USA, 1990s

Have I mentioned I'm a Jennifer Crusie fan? I am. Every time I open one of her books I know I am guaranteed a funny read, even when the story itself is disappointing (not that this one was).

The Story: Nina endured a long marriage with a social climber and finally divorced him. One of her gestures of independence after she is free is getting the dog he always denied her. However, when she goes to the pound to find a suitable puppy she spots Fred, a middle-aged, ugly and sad looking bloodhound-bassett mix who is about to be put down. She rescues him and takes him home, seriously doubting her own sanity, but happy that she has saved a life. Fred soon brings her into contact with her sexy younger neighbour, Max. The result is instant attraction on both sides but since Nina thinks Max is too young for her and Max thinks he isn't sophisticated enough for Nina, they become friends.
We all know how it will end, but I'm not going to reveal how.

Technique and plot: This is one of Crusie's early short novels, but some of her signature mini-formulas are in place already: the ugly but loveable pet, the somewhat untraditional couple, the interesting and funny extras, and a misunderstanding that stands in the way of the couple's happiness. It's pure formula, but as in her other books Crusie winks at it and produces a light and funny book that should satisfy any true romance fan and many others beside. In this particular book, the ugly pet gets to play cupid, and Fred is in fact the most memorable character in the book. This is not to say that Nina and Max are uninteresting, but Fred is such a strong personality and driving force that the story is really his.

Rating: An enjoyable and funny read – for both romance fans and dog lovers – too bad it's so short. 4 hearts.

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