3.5 stars, rounded up for the wonderful
reading voice of Anna Fields. If it wasn't for her awesomeness at reading SEP novels, I might have DNF'd this puppy. I could listen to her read the phone book.
This was Dallie & Francesca's story, and one of the few SEP books I have yet to read. I felt like I already knew D & F from the later books, so for me seeing them as their young and love struck persona's was not to be skipped.
Unfortunately, the time line in Fancy Pants goes back and forth from past to present and tells many additional stories, not just Dallas and Francesca. I think this part of what frustrated me with this story as it seemed to be all over the place. But when it was focused on D&F I really enjoyed it! And I could even forgive their obnoxious personalities as I already know from later books they turn into a wonderful couple.
The story unfolds with a long background story of Francesca's mother and her love life, which led to Francesca's birth. We later see Francesca as a young spoiled English girl who is struck with tragic luck, thus finding her way to America to live the American dream, which turns into a nightmare, and eventually meeting up with Dallas Bodine. We also suffer through a waaaaaaaaaaay TMI story of how Dallas met his first wife, and later a side romance story between his ex and a wacko political activist.
The romance between Dallas and Francesca was a hit and a miss for me. I realize both of them made some pretty lousy decisions along the way, but that was part of their journey and we got to see every minute of it. But when they meet up again their romance was just glossed over to make room for the other stories, when it should have been the heart of a good romance story.
On the plus side, one thing I especially liked in this book is the details to all of the eras. While it might read as outdated to many, for me I read it as a historical book and was impressed with the accuracy and portrayal of the times. The music, clothes, politics, TV shows, technology…etc. was integrated nicely to make me feel like I was there. I know this book is considered a contemporary, but the fact that it was written ~25 years ago and that it kept jumping around from different eras throughout the 20th century, it really can’t be viewed as a true contemporary.
Overall I did enjoy their story. I would have preferred less detail on all of these side stories, and more time on D&Fs romance reunion. The primary romance of this book suffers from all of the side stories and gets pushed aside too often. But I'm really glad I read it, and may reread Ted's story before Lucy's book The Great Escape comes out in a few months.