An Officer & a Gentleman

 
Made For Each Other
by Doreen Owens Malek
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1041, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27111-5
***
Arthur Darcy is a world famous scientist doing secret experimental work for the government at a university where his daughter Jill is a teaching assistant in a graduate program. His work has come to the attention of students who are protesting his research and the involvement of the federal government in it. The story opens as they both meet Tony Barringer, the FBI agent the US has sent to be the bodyguard for his daughter.

Jill is very resistant to the idea that a stranger will invade her space, especially since she does not believe that she is in need of one anyway. This is Tony’s first assignment guarding a private citizen. He had anticipated that his task would be to protect a “mudlark,” instead he met a “Rapunzel.”

Jill is too shy, too innocent and too uncertain of her own femininity to hold her own with the world traveled Tony, and she knows it. Awkwardly embarrassed by his presence, she confides his real job to her co-worker and friend Michelle, but she permits the others in her assigned study group to think what they will.

Joe Craig, a returning veteran, is in that group and he is smitten with Jill. His unwanted advances make her nervous, and quickly sparks fly between Joe and Tony as Tony encourages the world to believe his cover that he is Jill’s new boy friend.

Incidents escalate on campus and they seem to be all directed towards Jill. Suddenly she is grateful for the umbrella of Tony’s protection, but what she does not know is that his real assignment is to determine whether or not her father is the one scientist that they believe is leaking information to foreign powers.

As Tony begins to fall in love with Jill, he is agonized by his deception and realizes that this is not one that she will understand or forgive. He also knows that becoming involved with Jill will constitute an automatic removal from this assignment and probable disgrace.

Malek has created warm compassionate characters who are multidimensional. Her plot moves easily along with good pacing, and seamless segues. The dialogue is consistently in voice and appropriate for the personalities she has fashioned. . However, problems do seem to be solved a little too easily and neatly for reality.

The book is a little weak on the espionage plot and its details, since most of the story involves the developing relationship between Jill and Tony. The author is able to maintain a consistent romantic tension that mounts in a credible manner, however lacking stress the story is on the suspense side. The combination of the strengths and weaknesses of Made For Each Other makes it a good average read.

--Thea Davis


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