Dear Cordelia

Oh Baby

The Sister Switch
by Pamela Ford
(Harl. Super Rom. #1404, $5.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-71404-1
The title tells you that this is a story of twins trading places. Tradition tells us these types of switches never turn out quick like the original plan and this story follows that concept. Once into the tale, we all know there will be a misunderstanding because lying is involved. Despite all those givens, The Sister Switch is enjoyable.

Suzanne Carlisle is a personal shopper trying to jumpstart her business so she can move out of her sisterís house and move on with her life. But she needs a few weeks to recover from her fiancť dumping her, so she heads off on a cruise to the Alaskan waterway.

Nora Clark is a widow with a five-year-old son, who never knew his dad because he died in a car accident just before he was born. Nora is a physical therapist who has been feeling a little lost and lonely lately and beginning to realize that she has to take some risks if she is ever going to really let her deceased husband Kevin go. Nora has evolved from a little daredevil as a teen into a staid rather dull matriarch, even though she is not yet thirty. Her friends, all members of a single momís club are pushing her to reach out.

When Suzanneís biggest customer calls and says she has an emergency shopping need for her son, Suzanne assures her she will be there to help. She then promptly calls Nora and convinces her to pretend to be Suzanne and do this one thing, swearing that if she loses this customer, she will never get her business off the ground. Nora reluctantly agrees, even getting her hair cut and colored so she looks exactly like Suzanne. Little did she realize that customer Camille Lamontís son is none other than Dr. Erik Morgan, an orthopedic surgeon in the hospital where Nora works and one of the surgeons getting ready to open an athletic rehab center where Nora is hoping to get hired.

Complications ensue, everything from attending a party as Erikís date to actually spending a weekend skiing at a resort with Erik and her son, Danny. There are scenarios that are a tad hard to believe and Nora shows she has no backbone by never saying no. Beyond that, the situations are funny and the spark between the two is almost sizzling. Like many of Fordís characters, Suzanne is just quirky enough to like and Nora is just sympathetic enough that her lack of spine is acceptable, even when you know most of us would have shared her lies with Erik before she actually slept with him.

Erik is a good hero, just a tad unsure of himself as he struggles to figure out how he can get what he wants without giving up anything, advice his mother tells him will never work. Even when angry, he is open-minded enough to listen. That characteristic along with his gentleness and his willingness to interact with Danny puts him high on the hero meter.

I have found Fordís books to follow formula and tradition. This one is no exception. Despite that predictability, The Sister Switch offers an opportunity for the reader to glide through without too much scrutiny and enjoy a nice romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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