Smitten
by Janet Evanovich, contemporary (2006, 1990 reissue)
Harper, $7.99, ISBN 0-06-059887-5


Lizabeth Kane is a nice woman who just happens to be suffering from the aftermaths of a divorce, two hyperactive sons, a broken-down house, a dog that would eat anything, and Aunt Elsie who is the prototype for Grandma Mazur. When she decides to apply for a job at Matt Hallahan's construction firm out of desperation, guess what happens. Add in a flasher and the whole thing starts to spiral right into ha-ha land.

The romance in Smitten is light and unmemorable, but hey, it's F-U-N. Lizabeth Kane is a typical frustrated, bankrupt divorcee jaded with all men (the usual), but unlike her uglier fellow romance heroines, she gets her share of great lines too. And hey, she rides a hog! (Okay, it's Matt's, but it's a start.) Besides, a woman who still wants to be a fairy can't be bad:

She no longer cared about whittling herself down to the average fairy height of five inches, or having milkweed skin or gobs of fairy hair. Lizabeth Kane wanted the pluck, the joie de vivre, the perfect thighs of Tinker Bell. Think positive, Lizabeth told herself. If she could put her mind to it she could be plucky, she could have joie de vivre, and two out of three wasn't bad.

And as for Matt, in Lizabeth's words:

He was a genetic masterpiece. He was freshly shaven, his blond hair was parted and combed, and his shirt and jeans still held the crease from being laundered and folded. She wasn't about to be fooled by the crease in his jeans. Anyone with eyebrows like that and a tattoo on his arm had to be part barbarian. She guessed at which part, and her conclusion triggered a rush of adrenaline.

He also comes with an assorted amount of nice furniture, a new security system, and who can do naughty things with the waffle iron. The zany Aunt Elsie and the blue Buick are also here. Let's not forget the crazy flasher who waves hello to Lizabeth for a second before resuming his fleeing from the cops. (The cops waved hi too.)

Smitten isn't heavy drama - it's ultralight romance. But for an hour or two of laughter that almost have the neighbors calling for the men in white suits, Smitten works.

Rating: 86


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