I was working a cubical job, where some of my coworkers had a book swap to help pass the time between calls. A favored book would get passed around until everyone had a chance to read it. So someone was always suggesting a Nora Roberts novel or telling me how I should read some Nicholas Sparks best seller before it gets made into a movie. My preferred genres ranged from medical mysteries and thrillers to fantasy and horror, so I didn't participate much in the book swap.
One particular book was brought in and passed on with enthusiastic reviews. Over the next few days, the normal quiet of cubical living was repeatedly interrupted by the loud guffaws of co-worker #1 as she made her way through the novel. She finished quickly and handed it off with additional praise. As co-worker #2 read I also heard her laughing softly. What was with this book? Co-worker #3 was up next and she shared similar Virgo sensibilities as me so I was shocked to hear her snickering at her desk. I asked to read it next and Bet Me became first romantic comedy I ever read.
I knew it would be funny going in but I still could never have guessed the opening scene. It begins with Minerva Dobbs, described as being in her 30s and overweight, getting dumped in a bar. As her boyfriend is explaining his reasons for breaking up with her, she is debating whether or not to stab him in the heart with her swizzle stick. She does not waste time crying or feeling sorry for herself. Instead she's thinking how he was supposed to be her date to her sister's wedding which is in three weeks. I was hooked!
Crusie's characters think, speak, and react like real people. The misunderstandings, (the bread and butter of any great comedy) that they endure are believable and true to life. Although the protagonists are written to be flawed and often deserving of their fate, you just can't help but root for them.
Jennifer Crusie writes in a light, carefree way that allows you to fly through the novel,I've finished a few of them in one day. Luckily she has written more than 20 novels and her short stories can be found in various collections and anthologies.
I recommend that you start with Bet Me which grabs you from the first page. My personal favorite is Manhunting. Others that I've enjoyed include: Crazy For You, Faking It, Welcome to Temptation, Strange Bedpersons and Anyone But You.