Harlequin Temptation #297
2 1/2 stars
I don’t know what the qualifications were for getting the Harlequin Temptation Award of Excellence, but I wasn’t impressed with Barbara Delinsky’s Having Faith. I think the award was merely a way for editors to play favorites with authors without having to pay them more; however that’s just me being cynical.
Faith and Sawyer are divorce lawyers on opposite sides of the same nasty case. (Oh my, freaking divorce lawyers in a romance novel!) They’ve been good friends for many years, both went through rough divorces, and they have a very amicable platonic relationship. For over 15 years they’ve been friends with no sexual attraction. Then one night, they get rip-roaring drunk and have “oopsie” sex.
They reveal a lot more to each other than they ever have before: not just that they’re compatible in the bedroom, but also that they’re both jerks. The two of them make fun of their exes, Sawyer complaining how his ex-wife’s boobs sagged, Faith talking about how her husband was a dud in the sack. They drink some more and have more sex, then wake up with huge hangovers, in shock at what they’ve done.
After their night together, Sawyer decides it’s time to take it to the next level and be together. Faith, on the other hand, has intimacy issues. While she loves being friends with Sawyer, she’s not sure they’re compatible as a couple. And besides, there’s the drama of them representing opposing clients.
I didn’t buy the initial premise of the book as these aren’t kids. Sawyer says he’s a Vietnam vet, and since the book was written in 1989-1990, the youngest he can be is in his late 30s, more likely early 40s. Faith is in her mid-thirties at least. Maybe it’s just me, as the older I get, the less sexy it seems to be sloppy, black-out drunk. (I’m certainly no saint, but I haven’t done that in a couple of dogs’ ages). Your eyes get red, you slur your words, your face contorts all weird, and your body gets all wobbly. It’s not a sexy state to be in. Tipsy yes, three-sheets-to the wind, no.
It stretches belief that these two good-looking, successful people shared no sexual connection (even though they “platonically” flirted like fools with each other), were BFFs who shared intimate secrets, and then, out-of-the-blue, a night of heavy drinking was enough to make them forget their boundaries. I get the whole friends-to-lovers trope, although it’s not one of my favorites. It’s just hard to accept when the pair have been friends for almost two decades.
Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of love stories in the real world where people have been lifelong friends and suddenly fall in love, and that’s wonderful. But that story doesn’t make for a romance that I would gladly plunk down cash to buy unless there’s a funny twist on it, like in Lass Small’s Four Dollars and Fifty-One Cents.
Final Analysis of Having Faith
Eh, I always thought the friends-to-lovers film When Harry Met Sally was overrated. It’s not a trope I seek out. Personally, my best-liked rom-com is Don’t Tell Her It’s Me aka The Boyfriend School where Shelley Long is a romance novelist who plays matchmaker for her nice, but loser of a brother, Steve Guttenberg to a reporter played by a wonderful Jami Gertz.
As for this book, I thought it was undeserving of any special acclaim, especially considering that it was released in May of 1990. That month two other great Harlequin Temptations were released: #299 Changing the Rules by Gina Wilkins and #300 Glenda Sanders’ Island Nights. In contrast, Having Faith was not anywhere as enjoyable. It’s not a terrible read, just nothing special.