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Prince Charming's Child
by Jennifer Greene
(Silh. Desire #1225, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76225-9
****
Has Jennifer Greene ever written a bad book? Not according to her legion of fans, and I readily admit that I'm one of the long-standing ones. Prince Charming's Child is the first of three planned books in her Happily Ever After series. Prince Charming's Child is based on the legend of Sleeping Beauty, but with a twist, to my way of thinking.

I prefer to think of Prince Charming's Child as having the 'Pretty Woman' theme. Remember on the fire escape when Richard Gere asks what happened after the prince climbed up the tower and rescued the princess, and Julia Roberts answered, "She'd rescue him right back." Here's a 'rescue right back' story.

Nicole Stewart leaves the doctor's office in disbelief. She's pregnant. She's having a hard time accepting the fact. She doesn't remember having sex. That means that she doesn't even know who the father is.

Mitch Landers is a successful architect who works for Nicole's design firm. He sold his extremely successful firm and is enjoying the freedom that comes with letting someone else be boss. When he sees Nicole looking flustered on her return from the doctor, he's immediately solicitous. Seeing Nic in less that absolute control is cause for concern. With Mitch's gentle coercion and prodding, she spills her secret. Now Mitch knows why she's never mentioned their night together. Too much champagne had caused her to forget. Okay, so now his ego is a bit mollified.

Mitch immediately confesses, yet Nic is still worried when she finds out whom her baby's father is. She doesn't want people to think that she's sexually harassed this man. Nor does she want their coworkers to think that he's not willing to stand by her. What a dilemma. Nic's world becomes even more tilted when Mitch proposes marriage.

Nic admires Mitch greatly and wants his respect in return. That's one reason that she's never revealed her misspent youth to him. Here's where the problem with self-perception comes in. Nic has never forgiven herself for some dumb deeds in her teenaged years. She hesitates in accepting his proposal for that very reason. He deserves to know about her checkered past before they marry.

What Nic doesn't know is that Mitch has an issue of his own to worry about. Their one night together was sensational, but Mitch is beginning to wonder how sensational it really was if this lovely woman doesn't even remember it. I grinned at this scenario, visualizing his concern as he realizes that she's actually forgotten being intimate with him.

Jennifer Greene has never created characters who are less than honorable. Sometimes their self-perception is skewed, but you can count on her characters to behave with honor, humor and maturity. They're just ordinary people who sometimes find themselves in situations a bit beyond their control. I always know that I'm going to like the people I meet. I know that they're going to treat each other with respect, with dignity and with kindness.

Maybe I just put my finger on why Jennifer Greene is such a successful author. She treats her characters with respect and that respect flows over onto us. Yes, her characters frequently have a problem with self-image, but that's very different from immaturity, stupidity or other character faults that we get from other authors.

I don't know if Prince Charming's child will be charming, but I do know that this modern day Prince Charming in the guise of Mitch Landers is a winner.

--Linda Mowery


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