Fancy Pants is one of Phillips earlier novels, I believe it was first published in the 1980’s. The story, the action, the characters, unlike some of her other early novels, are timeless. I had a love/hate relationship with both the main characters Dallas and Francesca the entire book. For me, part of the hate was because I am not accustomed to the amount of fighting, yelling, screaming, kicking, slapping and walking out that occurs throughout the novel. The reader knows that the character will be redeemed, so for me, that wasn’t an issue. This is a novel of two people that are complete opposites meeting under extreme circumstances and trying to figure out where they go from there. Dallas is a second rate pro-golfer who can’t allow himself to win any of the big tournaments and hides his intellect behind his backwoods cowboy persona. Francesca is a beautiful British fluff ball that is used to getting her way, is a spoiled rich girl, and accustomed to being treated like royalty. Due to a tragedy and circumstances Francesca finds herself on the set of a vampire movie in America’s Deep South. Outraged, she leaves the set, broke, without a clue where she is going, dressed in an ugly pink Southern bell’s gown. Dallas ends up driving by and picking up this woebegone character, thinking she will be just another stray. Instead Francesca and Dallas find themselves at odds, they’re firecrackers and a lighted match, and the fireworks begin.
The beginning of the novel, I would say well into the 100 page mark in my edition, is all background information on Francesca and some on Dallas so that the reader can really understand the characters and their development, their relationship and choices that are made. I had to convince myself to stick with it for a while, but was happy that I did. Phillips introduces subjects and decisions in this novel that are very potent and tough, that affect the characters for the rest of their lives. This is not a novel of a trivial love story or love triangle but one riddled with flawed characters, poor decision making, humbling circumstancing and having to fight for what you most want in the world. This is riches to rags to riches story that has the reader staying up late to see what will happen next.
If you are a Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan this is a definite must read. Dallas and Francesca are in future novels so finally reading their actual history and story was a pleasure. If you have not read Susan Elizabeth Phillips yet, I would not recommend this for your first experience unless it sounds like it’s up your alley. I read her novel Match Me If You Can as my introduction to the witty world of Phillips and fell in love with her.