Faking It
Jennifer Crusie
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Faking It
Jennifer Crusie
St. Martin's Press
352 pages
August 2002
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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In Faking It, author Jennifer Crusie (Welcome to Temptation, Getting Rid of Bradley) once again presents an enchanting mix of romance, mayhem and mystery for the delight of her readers. There is nothing fake about Faking It, nor about the tears of laughter it's bound to leave readers with.

Meet Matilda Goodnight, a mural artist with a colorful past as an art forger who hates her current job. Tilda is determined to preserve her family and art gallery's good name and pay off the mortgage. However, everything is jeopardized the day beautiful Clea Lewis walks into their gallery and buys the one painting that Tilda thought would never see the light of day. Tilda and her panicked mother Gwen come up with the ingenuous but risky idea of Tilda stealing back the painting. On this dangerous mission, in Clea's closet, Tilda collides with the even more dangerous and charismatic Davy Dempsey. Davy (born into a family of scammers but trying his level best to reform) is hiding in the closet because he is trying to steal back the millions which Clea and his ex-financial manager, Rabbit, relieved him of. Things begin to snowball from there.

Intrigued by the multi-faceted and asthmatic Tilda, Davy follows her back to her home after stealing her painting for her -- only he's stolen the wrong one. He rents a room in their building and, from then on, Tilda keeps tripping over this supposedly ex-conman/FBI agent even as she frantically tries to protect her eccentric family and its dark secrets. Alternately aiding and hampering the entire dingbat affair is an array of perfectly madcap and truly remarkable secondary characters: the Double-Crostics and vodka-loving Gwen; Tilda's sister Eve (with her dual personalities); Eve's daughter Nadine (who is determined to date careers); Andrew (Eve's gay ex-husband); Simon (who may or may not be FBI); Ford (who is most probably a hit man); blonde bombshell Clea (who has a tendency of leaving behind a trail of dead husbands) and many, many more. Poor Tilda seems to be the only sane one left, and even she is not sure as she finds herself falling for the tempting faker, Davy. But what is Tilda hiding in the basement? Will Davy get what he wants? What is all this about being a 'doughnut' or a 'muffin'? Will they all continue 'faking it'?

Jennifer Crusie has established a reputation for writing books that are superb blends of romance, secrecy, comedy, mystery, drama and farce, aided by wonderful casts of characters, plots within plots, all set in some small town in Ohio. Faking It follows the same pattern. But Crusie has a way with witty and hilarious dialogues and mixed up, mad, and confused characters and devious plots, making each of her books distinctive and exceptionally read-worthy And she does all this even while making the characters so real and flawed, so average that they are utterly convincing. A must-read for anyone who appreciates laughter.

© 2002 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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