Saturday, June 30, 2007

THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES, A Novel by Crusie, Dreyer & Stuart


Hoo. Can I just say, "It's FINALLY on the shelves!"? Yes. After very looooong months of waiting, The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes is really and truly available for purchase. And purchase it I did. FOUR copies. One for me, and one each for three of YOU. Plus, I got an extra in the mail, so we're running a little contest so you can get a few of these. Check out the comments for more info.

Oh, you wanna hear about the book? Well, yeah, I can do that. And I know that Charity has it as well, so I'm fully expecting that she's going to chime in here soon, so look for her comments in another color.

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes is the collaboration between three of the best writers around. I am speaking, of course, of the incomparable Jennifer Crusie, the amazing Eileen Dreyer, and the incredible Anne Stuart. This is a NOVEL, written by three very talented, very distinctive authors. I stress NOVEL, because it is not three novellas strung together, it is a full length novel that is a seamless and beautiful work of art. Let me 'splain. No, that would take too long. Let me sum up:

You're invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters...
When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she's still trying to control her shape-shifting power - no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now,m if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday - annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe and in his heart...

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP and Mare's long-lost love turn up... and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget.

So, as BCCs go, this one is about as perfect as you can get. It tells who each of the sisters are, lets you in on their "gifts", introduces you to their men, explains why they are on their own, and promises a weekend full of fun, excitement, and heat. No complaints here about any part of the BCC, except that it doesn't quite get across how funny this book is, or how much you will enjoy reading it.

If this were a book written by only one person, I'd be falling all over myself to tell you to go out and grab it - it's just that good. The writing is fast-paced, the dialogue is stunning, the love scenes are breathtaking, the humor is side-splitting. Really, you can't go wrong with this one. At least that's what I'd tell you if it were written by one author. But it wasn't penned by a single wonderful author, was it? So there's a little more to my story. Thank you for indulging me. :)

For the past year, at least, I've been drooling for this book. Yes, it was mainly because it was a Jenny Crusie project, and you all already know what a fan of The Cherry I happen to be. You can check out some of the reviews I've done of her stuff on this site, or you can hop over to my own blog and check out my blatant FanGirlSqueeFests that have been more than well documented. I also happen to be a fan of Ms. Dreyer, as I've been reading her Silhouette books for years. And of course, you already know that I love Anne Stuart (Sister Krissie!), and her "Ice" books, don't you? Well, liking the styles of all three authors, I was intrigued by the idea of a collaborative novel. They are very different writers, with very distinctive voices, and I wasn't all that sure how an actual novel would be. I was actually afraid that it would be choppy, that it wouldn't flow, that it would be apparent who wrote what and totally pull me out of the flow of the story. Yeah, pretty dumb, huh? I wasted a lot of time worrying over nothing.

Dee, written by Eileen Dreyer, is the oldest sister, and she's really good at it. As an oldest sister myself, I can say that Ms. Dreyer totally nails the hang-ups, the fears, and the frustrations that are practically written into the DNA of any first-born girl child. Dee basically steals her sisters from the house shortly after she finds her parents dead in the front hall of their home. For nearly thirteen years, she moves them across the country, supports them, hides them, nurtures them, and puts her own life on hold while making sure they are safe. For me, Dee's first solo scene perfectly sums up her role in her eyes. She's taken on the shape of an owl (her magical power enables her to shape-shift), and she's following a man around town. Here's what's going on in her head:
Her favorite times had been spent as a bird. She loved flight...adored the patterns and colors the earth revealed... but mostly, she liked being alone, responsible for nothing, failing no one...
That's it, exactly. She's holding on to her life by the tips of her fingers, so scared of letting down the two most important people in her world that she has put her own dreams and desires far to the back of her mind. Watching Dee slowly let go of the reins, ease out of the role of gate-keeper and keymaster, and grasp her own life was wonderful.

Lizzie, the middle sister that can change things physically, penned by Anne Stuart, seems to inhabit her own world. She is the peace keeper, the quiet one, the one everyone thinks is weak. She is the sister most attuned to the underlying feelings and emotions that run strong in the Fortune household. She feels Dee's frustration at being in a boring job, she understands Mare's need to always be moving. I see her as a very earthy person, with a soft smile and gentle hands. Her compassion flows out of her in waves. Seeing Lizzie develop her powers, strengthen her almost invisible backbone into solid steel, and step up to the plate during their final confrontation with evil was satisfying!

And then there is Jennifer Crusie's Mare. Oh, sweet little Mare... NOT! Well, she's not little, and sweet is really pushing it for this baby of the family who also happens to be the Queen of The Universe. Mare has created a place for herself in the town that has embraced the sisters, and she rules her small world with an iron fist. She runs the Value Video!! store with style and flair, she runs over people that get in her way, and she just runs for fun. Mare is so full of passion, so full of energy, so full of life, that I sometimes wonder how her skin actually stays attached to her body. Her growth from the sometimes spoiled, often times bratty baby, to a woman who takes responsibility for her actions and starts to look at the past through the eyes of that same woman, is nothing short of astounding. I mean, there's growth, and then there's Mare.

There is, of course, one other Fortune sister that is not mentioned on the BCC. I'm talking about Xantippe Fortune, dear old Aunt Xan. She's out to get the sisters, for reasons that are clearly her own. She devises a plan that relies on them falling in love in just a few days, and freely relinquishing their powers. She's ready to use spells and potions and evil minions, and anything else she can get her hands on, to get her way. What she isn't expecting is that she may just have met her match in the Fortune sisters.

And yes, there are men. And romance. And steamy scenes. My favorite line from one of those scenes? ...magic makes sense... like sex. It's too good to be true, but it works. Every. Single. Time. The men, Danny James for Dee, Elric (the Magnificent) for Lizzie, and (Jude and) Crash for Mare, and perfect. They each have their own agendas for being in Salem's Fork, and those agendas all include getting closer to one of the Fortune sisters. How they do that, why they do that, and what happens when they do that, make for some of the most captivating scenes I've read in any book in a very long time.

After all is said and done, the time I spent with Dee, Lizzie and Mare in Salem's Fork was just pure magic. And I mean that in the very best of ways. I didn't get the feeling that this was some rip-off of a cheesy tv witch show (gads, please don't let my daughter read that I called that show "cheesy"!). It didn't feel stilted, or rushed. And even though I am really not a fan of the "hi, my name is blah, and i'm going to fall in love with you in less than 48 hours" style that this story embodies, all I can say is that for this one - it just works. These women live safe, but fall in love fast. While I usually really detest that in a story, I can't imagine this one any other way.

Crusie, Dreyer and Stuart have managed to write a seamless novel of love, where the magic is strong, the passion is hot, and the bond between sisters is stronger than anything you can imagine. While the story may show how each of these women find love with their own perfect men, at the core, the love story actually revolves around three women that have given so much of themselves to create a world where each of them is accepted, and treasured, for the unique gifts that she brings to the others. This book will be on my "keeper" shelf for a very long time!

For your chance to win one of my three "extra" copies, check out the comments!

Keep Turning Those Pages!


dee said...

To win one of the three books, tell me (right here in the comments) which one of the sisters sounds most like YOU, and why.
I'll pick three entries at random, and announce the winner in my next review.
That's all you have to do!

KimW said...

I am most like Mare. I am the youngest who hopes that she has gotten past the spoiled and bratty part of her personality. I suppose my older sister would say it shows on occasion. :) Hopefully not too often.

Enjoyed hearing about the book. I'm already a fan of all the authors and It sounds so good.

Lis said...

I'm an only child but I think I'm more like Lizzie. The description pretty well sums me up, the inhabits her own world, peace keeper and quiet one. I've also got a little Dee thrown in, the liking being alone.

Michelle said...

This sounds like SUCH a fun book! I'm definitely most like Dee. I've spent so much time worrying about everyone else. Even when I was younger, I fought to be my own person, then away from my family just spent my time worrying about my own family. It takes a lot to find your own way again, so I'm looking forward to reading about her journey. Then again, I get a little twinge of longing when I read about the other sisters, thinking about how nice or "easy" it would be to live in their shoes.

Hope said...

I'm most like Dee, the oldest sister. She seems very responsible and having to take care of her family, makes her feel old and longing for the chance to be just herself. I have felt like this many times myself.

Sue A. said...

I'm also an older sister, and like Dee was responsible for the care of my younger sibling. I believe birth order shapes the person you become. I took on responsibility early and was way too serious as a child with deep worries and deep feelings.

Blame It on Paris said...

Probably Dee, although I would rather be Mare. But honestly, I don't think I'm much like any of them. They sound intriguing, though.

diane said...

I am like Dee. I would take on the responsibilities and worries when I was young. Too much of a burden for a young girl. SOme of us are born old and accept it.

anne said...

Dee, most definitely Similar personality and serious about accepting the concerns and dealing with them willingly.

sharon said...

I am the older sister and tried to become a role model for my younger sister. She was a totally different individual. But Dee would represent the person who is close in thinking to my way outlook.

Chantal said...

Sounds like a really good book!
I think that Dee sounds the most like me.
Even though our parents are alive, I was the one who raised my brothers. Our parents split up when I was 12, and from then on I became a mom to my younger brothers. Our mom decided that after the divorces she would 'live her life' She went out drinking almost every night, stayed away for days at a time, and when she was home she would just sleep. So me, being 12 years old, I had to take care of kids that were only 4 and 5 years younger than me.

Now, we are all adults, and I still take on the mother role with my baby brothers.

Chantal said...

Oh. I didn't mean go on and on. It all kinda slipped out :)

Cheryl said...

I guess I'd have to say I'm most like Lizzie. I'm the nurturer, always wanting to take care of the people I care about. I put other people's welfare above my own. But sometimes it seems like my best intentions fall short of my goal.

dee said...

Seems like most of us are more like Dee.
And Chantal, don't worry about it. It happens to me all the time!
You guys are awesome!