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Hometown Girl
by Robin Lee Hatcher
(Silh. Sp. Ed.#1229, $3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-24229-8
It is no surprise that Robin Lee Hatcher can entertain. This talented author delivers entertainment whether she creates longer, historical novels or shorter contemporaries. Unfortunately, her most recent book, Hometown Girl, is only occasionally entertaining. .

The story is a familiar one a man's discovering the existence of a love child, unexpectedly enjoying the role of father and, in the process, rediscovering his love for the child's mother. Hatcher delivers the dialogue with incredible sweetness and creates admirable characters, but the situation never engages the reader, the characters somehow remain colorless, and the ending lacks the closure anticipated from a Silhouette Special Edition label.

Hometown Girl is best at the beginning. Monica Fletcher is in a bookstore waiting nervously to see Daniel Rourke, a famous author appearing for a book-signing. She has not seen him since he ended their engagement during college. For personal reasons, she has decided it is time to tell him they share an eleven-year-old daughter.

Monica Fletcher and Daniel Rourke graduated from the same high school in Boise. They dated and became engaged in college, but once past this initial, idyllic time, they discovered their dreams did not coincide. Monica's plans to return to her hometown, get married, and raise a family conflicted with Daniel's wanting to become a reporter for a big-city newspaper and achieve fame and fortune through his writing. Arguments about their future became a daily occurrence and Daniel fanned the bitterness as a way to ease away from the relationship.

Just as Monica was trying to accept Daniel's not sharing her dreams, she discovered she was pregnant. Rather than force him to live her dream, she disappeared from his life. Though initially intending to give the child up for adoption, she was unable to do so when the baby is born. With very supportive parents, she has made a life for herself and her daughter, becoming president of her own company.

Daniel has achieved his dream during the decade following his graduation from college. He is a respected reporter and the author of a bestseller recounting a high-profile trial he covered for his paper. As Monica observes at the book-signing, women fawn all him. Despite her not having found anyone to replace him, she still dreams of home and family and knows this reconnecting with her former love is meant only to inform him of their daughter and hopefully to encourage a relationship between father and daughter.

In short order, that does occur. Father and daughter hit it off with hardly a glitch and Daniel is thinking this fatherhood business is rather simple. A few hours of eleven-year-old-style pouting create a BIG crisis and a millisecond of rethinking, but all is well in short order, and the sense of his viewing fatherhood with rose-colored glasses returns. The romantic thread is dealt with just as simplistically and incredibly.

Due to her recognized writing skill, Hatcher's book will sell, but Hometown Girl is not a strong addition to the short contemporary fiction market this month.

--Sue Klock

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