A Book From The Shelf – Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Date read: 20th January 2014
Publisher: St Martins Paperbacks
Release Date: August 31st 2004
Length: 390 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased from Murder #1 (sadly no longer with us)

Bet Me image

Goodreads description

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.

But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all–true love.

My review

Oh, my goodness. There is a good reason I have read this book five times and why it holds a firm position on my Top 10 Books list. It’s just about perfect.

Larger lady meets All-American man should be the most predictable book on the shelf. And nothing earthshattering happens within the pages of Bet Me – but everything that does happen… happens so well.

Min is angry at the world after her safe boyfriend David dumps her because she won’t sleep with him – three weeks before her sister’s wedding, to which she has promised to bring a date. After hearing Cal make a bet with said idiot David that Cal could get Min to sleep with him within a month, Min decides to play him at his own game to secure a date to the wedding. But neither of them actually bet on liking the other…

Take this quote as an example of the writing:

David opened his mouth and closed it again. “Well, of course. I don’t want you to think this is a reflection on you. You’re intelligent, you’re successful, you’re mature…”

Min listened, knowing that You’re beautiful, You’re thin were not coming. If only he’d have a heart attack. Only four percent of heart attacks in men happened before forty, but it could happen. And if he died, not even her mother could expect her to bring him to the wedding.

Cal helps Min to make the perfect chicken marsala, and feeds her Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Min befriends Cal’s nephew Harry, and defends Cal against his ice-cold family. And in the middle of this, they fall in love. But what about the pesky bet?

The minor characters – no, I can’t describe them as minor, because they’re so beautifully portrayed. Fearsome Liza, who will defend Min against Cal ‘the beast’, to the point of hitting him with her handbag at inopportune moments, and dreamy Bonnie, who’s certain that she’s found the love of her life. And Cal’s friends Tony, who’s much smarter than he seems, and Roger, who’s solid yet certain. Even Min’s sister Diana and her own two friends leap off the page without taking focus off the couple at the centre of the fairy tale. And so what if the story sounds ridiculous in my review? Read it and you won’t be disappointed. The ending moves so quickly, and is hilarious yet poignant – it gives hope to us all!

I love Jennifer Crusie’s contemporary romances simply because she knows how to write people. Every conversation sounds like one I would have, or would like an improved version of me to have. She’s definitely an auto-buy author, and I wish she’d write more!

The perfect January read and, as I mentioned above, one of my favourites of all time.

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