Harlequin Temptation #297
VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉
2 1/2 stars
I don’t know the qualifications 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. 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.
The pair reveal a lot more to each other than they ever have before—not only 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 massive 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 book’s initial premise as these aren’t kids. Sawyer says he’s a Vietnam vet, and since Delinsky wrote this in 1989-1990, the youngest he can be is in his late 30s. Or 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 seductive state to be in. Tipsy maybe, but three-sheets-to the wind, no.
It stretches the imagination that these two good-looking, successful people shared no prior sexual connection. They “platonically” flirted like fools with each other. They were BFFs who shared very intimate secrets. Then, “out-of-the-blue” one 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 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, as 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. I like romances where love springs up unexpectedly. Personally, my best-liked romantic-comedy is Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, aka The Boyfriend School. Shelley Long plays a romance novelist who acts as a matchmaker for her nice but loser of a brother, Steve Guttenberg, with a reporter performed by the wonderful Jami Gertz.
As for this book, I thought it was undeserving of any particular acclaim, especially considering that Harlequin released it in May of 1990. Two other great Temptation novels were released that month: #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.