Crazy in Love - Lani Diane Rich Although this quaint story, in compliance with its chic lit genre, has two main characters, Jake and Flynn, the novel’s unquestionable treasure is its female lead.
Flynn is a rebel in a family of rich overachievers. While her father and sister have been managing their real estate empire, she has been skipping through a variety of dead-end jobs. She doesn’t want to work in real estate; she wants to find her own place in the world, but that place seems to be elusive. By the time the book starts, and Flynn approaches the dreaded 30, she is disappointed in her fruitless search. She is tired of living in crappy apartments, tired of poverty, tired of rebellion.
She even doubts her own heart. Maybe there is no place for her out there? Maybe the only thing she might still be good for is to compromise her integrity and make her father and sister happy?
Insecure and convinced of her own worthlessness, Flynn is a multifaceted character. Illogical and juvenile one moment, sassy and painfully honest the next, she is charming and vulnerable in a very real way. I’d want her as my friend, and I’d never before wanted a heroine of chic lit (or any fictional story) as a friend.
When her octogenarian great-aunt Esther dies and leaves the family her old inn in a tiny town, Flynn’s sister asks Flynn to travel there for a couple of weeks to ‘represent the family.’
Flynn agrees, but when she arrives at the inn, all is not as it seems. Thrust into the tangle of human dramas and ghostly secrets, romance and embezzlement, Flynn has to grow her backbone fast and begin believing in herself if she wants to find true happiness.
Other characters dot Flynn’s way towards self-fulfillment. Among them, Flynn’s developing sweetheart Jake – a former cop, currently a bartender, striving for his own validation. The sensual attraction between them throbs between the pages.
There is also a smattering of antagonists, each with their own agenda, a bunch of good guys (and gals), and Flynn’s family, but they are all sketchy. None is fully developed as a character, but en-masse, they add verisimilitude and complexity to the story.
On the surface, this novel is a romantic comedy spiced with a detective thread and a ghostly flavor, but deep where it counts, it’s a story of Flynn’s self-discovery, enriched by her unfolding love for Jake. All the rest – the convoluted mystery line that drives the plot, the romantic line that adorns it, as well as the ghostly wrinkle that puzzles the readers – are just fluff, nowhere as essential to the story as Flynn’s transformation.
The novel is light but it raises heavy questions: of courage and poverty, of greed and acceptance.