Julie's Reviews > What the Lady Wants

What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie
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's review
Apr 17, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: contemporary-romance, fiction, jennifer-crusie
Read from April 17 to 19, 2011

(2.5 stars)

What the Lady Wants is one of Jennifer Crusie's earlier books, and it shows. I had the same feeling about Charlie All Night -- it had all the classic Crusie elements, but the writing, dialogue, plot, and pacing weren't done as well as they are in her later books. However, I adored Charlie All Night, not even really noticing its faults because it was so cute and enjoyable.

This book started out slow. The gist of the plot is that Mae's wealthy uncle dies and she needs to find his diary for reasons related to her inheritance, so she hires a private investigator, Mitch Peatwick. (The back cover's copy gives his last name as Peabody. I guess the people at Harlequin weren't paying attention.) He's instantly attracted to her; she's not attracted to anything about him except for his hands. Seriously, several times we're told Mitch has a "craggy face" and that he's "not handsome." I was mystified as to why Mae wanted him so badly because she didn't find him attractive and he spends most of the book's first half making jerky, sexist comments.

The plot drags, the characters are one-dimensional, and the pacing is slow. Mae's family is also absolutely nuts -- not in a delightful way, but in a psychopathic way -- and apparently associated with the mob. And she has a cousin who's in love with her. I understand it would be legal if they followed through with anything, but it was weird.

I kept reading because I love Crusie and want to read her entire backlist, plus I wanted to find out if my suspicions about who murdered Mae's uncle Armand were true. (They were.) You can see the beginnings of a more fully realized novel here, but as is, I can't recommend it unless you're a Crusie completist. I said the same thing about Strange Bedpersons, and surprise, Nick and Tess have cameo roles in this book.

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04/17/2011 page 28
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