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The Trouble with Twins
by Nancy Warren
(Harl. Super Romance #1390, $5.50, G) ISBN 0-373-71390-8
****
Melissa Theisen has been dealt a raw deal. She had married a man she thought would be with her forever. Instead she got a man who cheated often, who left her high and dry in the divorce and who is now behind on his mortgage payments and child support, and apparently has left the country for tax purposes. Melissa was a stay-at-home mother, although she had been working on garden designs and had hopes of building it into a business as the kids got older. Now she needs help fast because the bank is threatening foreclosure if she doesn’t make the mortgage payments. Eight-year-old Matthew and three-year-old Alice need stability, and the last thing she wants is to move out of their lovely home into a less satisfying place. This is a feeling that she gained growing up in a family that often had to move because they could not make their payments.

Melissa gets fed up one day and demands to see the bank manager when the loan officer turns down her efforts to find a way to keep her home. She storms into the boardroom and confronts him. Seth O’Reilly needs the distraction. He has been feeling his work life is stale. Seth is a widower with twin ten-year-old daughters; girls who are mischievous and showing signs that their teenage years will be particularly challenging. Seth listens to Melissa and decides he can help her by refinancing her loan. In the middle of their discussion, he gets an emergency call from the girls, who are home rather than at school and tell him they are vomiting blood. He takes Melissa with him (because she has told him she has a background in nursing) and the story takes off.

Melissa ends up babysitting for the girls, an arrangement that suits Seth and his need for adequate supervision of the girls and one that helps Melissa financially. They become friends and ultimately fall in love.

I really enjoyed the story for the first three quarters of the book. Rather than end it, the author decided to throw in some last minute angst and extended the tale a bit too long. This dropped the enjoyment and rating.

Seth is a good hero, far from perfect, but caring and willing to be a friend at first. He then easily moves into the other role, even while he is dealing with his feelings about letting go of his first wife’s memory. He is a loving father and willingly helps Melissa’s son when he needs a father figure.

Melissa is a strong heroine. She has had to pick herself up after the divorce, so the feelings she is dealing with are a bit different than those Seth has. She pushes Seth to make choices and even helps him with cleaning out his wife’s things, because she knows he can’t move on with his life until he deals with his past. This comes close to being too assertive, but the author gives Melissa a strong sense of kindness, keeping the right balance between being pushy and being loving. Towards the end, Melissa stumbles a bit, retreating into some emotional issues about the divorce. This did not feel true to character and seemed to serve as a reason to lengthen the tale. However, she regroups and reaches for her happily ever after.

I enjoyed this tale and initially thought it might be a five heart start to the new year. The Trouble with Twins faltered a bit towards the end; however it was an enjoyable read all the same.

--Shirley Lyons


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