One True Love? By Stephanie Doyle
(Harl. Flipside #2, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-44176-2
Flipside is a new line from Harlequin advertised as “fun, witty, unexpected!” It is further advertised as being for “readers who appreciate that, if love makes the world go around, the ride is a lot more fun with a few laughs along the way.”

One True Love? delivers on that promise with the exception of being “unexpected”. It is fun, silly and a joy to read, but it is fairly predictable.

Corinne Weatherby comes from a family of actors and actresses. She is a disappointment to them, as she chose to go into accounting instead. But she still has a flair for drama and finds life most comfortable when it follows her scripts, which she writes in her head as she goes along. One area that makes her most comfortable is knowing, yes, knowing, that there is one person in this world for each of us that will be our one true love.

Corinne knows this because she has watched both her parents profess love for each other, but participate in love affairs throughout their careers. Her sister, an actress, has been married several times, as has her brother, also an actor. She doesn’t want this for herself – she wants true love. Corinne has settled in her heart on a man she works with named Brendan.

Brendan is a womanizer, a little slow and a hunk. Corinne has been dating him for several months and is certain he is the ever-after kind of guy, if only she can convince him of that. He is too busy enjoying his roving eyes, and in some cases, hands, to fully appreciate the beauty of this script. But Corinne is convinced she is right. Her new plan to sway him is to leave him for a two-week vacation. He will see what he is missing and come into line.

Enter Matthew Relic. Matthew is a great friend of Corinne’s, or Rinny, as he calls her. They have been friends for years, and Matthew is in love with her. But she cannot see past her theory and the fact that she has announced to the world that Brendan is the one.

So, Matthew follows her on vacation to show her they are meant to be together and that Brendan is not the one for her. But life, as they say, is full of surprises. First we have the night of too much alcohol. Then just as Matt thinks he has talked Rinny into an affair, (which is his plan to show her that she really does have feelings for him) he gets food poisoning. Need I go on…the plot is filled with one obstacle after another. The funniest obstacle is the sunburn…anyone who has ever suffered will relate.

Eventually all turns out but the way to true happiness is a bumpy road at best. It is funny. It is silly and playful. But it is also very predictable. Doyle tries to set up the scenarios, but in doing so, gives away the outcome.

Corinne is a so-so heroine. She is a bit wacky. She has reached some interesting conclusions about her childhood that have helped to form who she is today. Once her motivations are understood, she is much easier to swallow. But she also holds to her beliefs a tad too long.

Matthew is an all around nice guy. In fact, at times, I wondered why he was settling for this quirky girl who couldn’t see his strengths. He resorts to the big misunderstanding in the end, which weakens his character in my eyes.

Flipside could develop into a nice outlet for all those screwball romantic comedies looking for a home. One True Love? is a nice start, but leaves plenty of room for improvement, too.

--Shirley Lyons

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