The President's Daughter
by Annette Broadrick
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1226, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-24226-3
**
Annette Broadrick is an author whose books, as a rule, I enjoy reading. I was looking forward to The President's Daughter. Both the title and the plot description sounded entertaining. Years ago I read Marion Smith Collins' romance,On the Safe Side, a story I highly enjoyed which details the life of a Secret Service agent assigned to the President. Ellen Emerson White's trilogy about the president's daughter, a young adult series, is one I recommend to adolescents and adults. Perhaps I was expecting too much from this presidential story.

Secret Service agent Nick Logan, usually on the Vice President's detail, is reassigned suddenly and has his vacation put on hold. He's going to be guarding the First Daughter, Ashley Sullivan, as she and her friends go on a ski vacation in Colorado. The rest of the First Family will be on a vacation cruise in the Caribbean, with the press assuming that Ashley is with them.

Twenty-one years old and a junior at Wellesley, Ashley is pleased that she has finally talked her father into letting her vacation with friends. The fly in the ointment is Nick Logan, assigned as one of her two bodyguards. She feels an immediate animosity toward this man, for no reason other than she finds him attractive and thinks that he can attract women by the droves. She instantly decides that she won't be one of his legions of admirers.

After a fitful start of her sniping, his stoicism and their snarling, Ashley and Nick develop a tentative friendship until the unthinkable happens. The First Family is missing, and Nick has orders to bring Ashley back to Washington. As they approach the small airport, they are fired at and the other secret service agent is shot. Who set them up? Is the Secret Service involved? As the story unfolds, treachery and betrayal at the highest levels are uncovered.

Admittedly, I don't know much about how the Secret Service works. Nor should I. Some details should be restricted. However, I had problems with several scenarios in this story. I was surprised that only two agents were with Ashley as she and her friends vacationed in Colorado. Nick was the only agent who skied, so she only had one guard while she was on the slopes. After the fiasco at the airport , when Nick is sure that the First Family has been kidnapped, he doesn't know who to trust. He receives a tip where her family is being held, so he and Ashley begin a cross-country odyssey. Wouldn't there be a slight chance that somebody would recognize her or at least comment on her similarity to the First Daughter?

Nick's rescue of the First Family is beyond belief. Twice he infiltrates the hiding place and twice he escapes. Who's guarding them, the three Stooges? He goes in and out as easily as we might go to our local grocery store. When the First Family also realizes that they don't know who to trust, they agree to travel cross-country in a rented car . . . with no bodyguards. This is the family who, hours before, was held by terrorists and now they plan on a driving trip because they don't know who's trustworthy. Wouldn't it stand to reason the President, First Lady and their two teenaged sons might be conspicuous? Easily recognized? In jeopardy? And Nick has recommended that they drive alone. How about calling up a general, a senator, the local police force? Trusting somebody makes more sense than sending the First Family unguarded on a drive through America.

Nick realizes that his Secret Service lifestyle, frequently nomadic, is not conducive to a lasting relationship. He's reluctant to begin a relationship with Ashley, but does let himself be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a nonpermanent relationship. One minute he's listing why he's wrong for her and the next he's in bed with her. His vacillation got to be really silly after a while, considering that he makes macho moves when he sees Ashley talking to a young man at a gas station.

The disparity in their ages also bothered me. At twenty-one, I felt that Ashley was too young to see this man and, within the span of a few days, flip flop from ignoring him to wanting a lifetime commitment from him. He's thirty-two and no telling how many rules he's breaking by having a sexual relationship with her. Yes, true love conquers all, but this relationship seemed too rushed for them to overcome their differences.

All in all, I found The President's Daughter to be unrealistic, both in the resolution of the external conflicts and the resolution of their relationship.

--Linda Mowery


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