St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99, 430 pages
If Pride and Prejudice were a Fairy Tale set in modern day Ohio it would read something like Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me. Two characters who are a perfect match for each other despite their different backgrounds cannot seem to get it together because of their personal prejudices and their own pride. Yet like a fairy tale, every character has a satisfying ending, even the bad guy after he gets his just desserts.
In this case our Elizabeth Bennett is named Minerva Dobbs and she is a boring actuary who is driven to distraction by her batty calorie obsessed mother, her busy distracted father, her two best friends (fairy tale obsessed Bonnie and edgy realist Liza) and her cool do-no-wrong sister who is marrying the perfect man. Minerva’s Mr. Darcy is Calvin Morrisey, a successful businessman from an uppercrust family perhaps as zany as her own. Through arguments to decide which Elvis is better: Costello or Presley, the adoption of a deranged but loving feral cat and many many Krispy Crème doughnuts, a chubby girl learns to cook with butter and a womanizer learns to lose a bet with dignity. And as fate forces these two prideful people together against their better judgment, their world becomes an enchanted place where anything could happen, even happily ever after.