I Take This Man–Again!
by Carole Halston
(Silh. Sp.Edition #1222, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-24222-0
Mac McDaniel sees his ex-wife Ginger on television, receiving a national teaching award. He's just been analyzing his life and realizes that he still misses Ginger. He's almost thirty and wants a wife and family. What he really wants is a reconciliation with Ginger and plans accordingly. He moves from New Orleans to the north shore. Mac even gets a coaching job at her high school, and better luck awaits. He's able to find a vacancy in her condo area. So he's in for the long haul.

Ginger, divorced from Mac for six years, tells herself she's over him. She's dating a dull as dishwater guy, but she feels that he has none of Mac's shortcomings. She was miserable when she was married to Mac. He married her when she got pregnant, and even after her miscarriage, they remained married for four years. There were extenuating circumstances to their divorce...religion, in-law difficulties, but the main thing which broke them up was Ginger's insecurities. As his wife, she'd been overly possessive, distrustful, insecure. She kept wondering how she could really keep the attention of such a great looking man.

Mac's expectations regarding a reconciliation aren't too realistic, either. He and Ginger don't talk about the reasons that broke them apart. He just thinks that getting her in the sack will make everything hunkydory. The morning after, when Ginger still doesn't want a reconciliation, he thinks that he's been played for a sucker. He'll take his toys and go home. Whatever happened to the long haul?

Ginger has both hot and cold reactions to Mac. She's complacent when he's attentive and depressed when she thinks that he's interested in someone else. And Matt isn't blameless. He quits too soon. After their big spat, he sees that she's trying to apologize. So what does he do? He ignores her.

Mac and Ginger are good people, but their pattern of on-again, off-again affection just becomes frustrating. To paraphrase the thoughts behind the country western song, "Meet in the Middle," Mac and Ginger keep passing each other, alternately scowling or looking longingly at the other. That meeting took much too long.

Some well-written books are hard to rate. Such is the case with I Take This Man–Again! with a heroine not acting her age and a hero willing to work on getting his ex-wife back...until things don't immediately go his way.

While many romance novels honor the old adage that the course of true love never runs smooth, the obstacles that the lovers must overcome in order to find real happiness are usually something more substantial than their own ambivalence. Are Mac and Ginger truly soul-mates, or are they just two people who haven't been able to find anything better?

--Linda Mowery

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