City Girls Need Not Apply

Too Hard To Handle
by Rita Rainville
(Silh. Romance #1445, $3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-19445-5
It's been over three years since Rita Rainville's last book. I can't resist using the clichéd question, "But who's been counting?" Well, I've been counting, and I'm thrilled that the wait is finally over. Not only do we have a Rainville love story, but Too Hard To Handle is the fifth book with Aunt Tilly, a fairy godmother type, who is a delightful, gentle, adorably scatterbrained psychic.

Christy Calhoun has a new job with a travel magazine. Her first assignment is to go with her Aunt Tilly and a group of senior citizens as they travel through Nevada and Arizona visiting UFO hot spots. The story opens as the senior citizens, wearing yellow T-shirts, each picturing a human waving at a big-eyed alien and the words I'm not Suffering from Alienation, find themselves being ordered off Shane McBride's land. Even though this rancher has had his fill of UFO loonies, he invites them to stay after one of their RVs blows up. Shane, bemused by Aunt Tilly, knows that it won't be any hardship to be around Christy for a while, either.

From here on out the story follows a beautiful predictability. Christy, against her better judgment, is increasingly attracted to Shane, even though he's made no indication that he wants any permanence. Shane is smarting from two failed relationships where the ladies were more interested to his money than him. What fools! Shane also believes that Christy's budding career as a journalist is more important to her than a relationship with him. Their journey to their HEA is not as smooth as some of Rainville's other love stories, but Christy is so darn likable and Shane is so sexy that it's a sparkling journey.

Aunt Tilly, who made her first appearance in Lady Moonlight, is described as a fey, spry, enchanting, adventurous woman who has daily conversations with her husband Walter, a man who ‘passed on to another plane years ago.' Part of Aunt Tilly's charm is that, while Walter gives her advice, it's never quite clear. So she's lovingly befuddled, but a matchmaker with an impeccable record.

Rita Rainville is an author whose books have never disappointed me. They're basic, sort of a DNA romance building block. I'd call them tunnel vision romances; everything is superfluous but him and her. The main characters are reassuringly normal. Usually, the heroine isn't breathtakingly beautiful, but she always radiates a goodness that makes her beautiful to the hero. Her heroes are frequently the type who sees the heroine and know immediately that they've found their mate, the one person who makes them complete, the one person who makes life magically wonderful.

If you've read other Rainville books and know Aunt Tilly, then you're going to be entertained with her matchmaking talents once again. Even if you've never read anything with Aunt Tilly in it, you won't be at a loss. Rita Rainville writes a story that's Grade-A Americana. It's wholesome, delightful and not to be missed.

I'm just hoping that we don't have another three year wait for her next book. That's almost too hard to handle. (Bad pun, but it works!)

--Linda Mowery

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