Leave It To Cleavage
by Wendy Wax, contemporary (2004)
Bantam, $6.50, ISBN 0-553-58614-9
To call Leave It To Cleavage a romantic comedy is a little misleading if I am to go by the rigid standards of the romance genre because the romance between Miranda Smith, beauty queen, and Blake Summers, suspicious hot cop (like there is any other kind of cop in the genre, really) doesn't move to high gear until later into the story. This is understandable as Miranda has plenty of things on her mind. Such as having to try and run her family business, Ballantyne Bras, when her husband decamps after putting the skills he has learned from the Enron School of Business to good use, while pretending that her husband is still around instead of prancing around in her lingerie while living it up in China or somewhere, for example.
Wendy Wax's second romance novel is a delight because it is funny, silly, but at the same time it isn't stupid. Miranda has an MBA and even at her silliest, there is no doubt in my mind that she can run a business without resorting to usual stupid romance heroine tricks like crying helplessly because she is too soft-hearted to make a business decision. Blake may not be a good cop if he gets so easily distracted by a pretty face and busty cleavage (although the brain isn't too bad, as he will learn) but he's a fun hero with the right amount of wit and roguishness to bring on the mojo. The secondary characters are fun too, like Blake's tomboy daughter who befuddles her father when she decides to become a pretty young lady instead. While the book seems to be unnecessarily overloaded with secondary characters at times, especially those from Miranda's side, very few of these characters are there solely for the sake of being there. They contribute to the funny and bring out various aspects of the main characters to make these characters a little more well-rounded.
Leave It To Cleavage has familiar characters playing out a familiar premise, that is true, but by delivering non-stop fun and laughter while making sure that the characters remain sometimes silly but always fun and brainy characters (instead of being cartoonish and idiotic caricatures), it manages to win me over with ease. The heroine is fabulous, the hero is just icing on the cake, and I have a fabulous time laughing and cheering these likeable, silly, and entertaining characters to the happy ending they deserve.
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