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A Hitch in Heaven

 
Plain Jane's Texan by Jan Hudson
(Silh. Desire #1229, $3.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-76229-1
***
Several of Jan Hudson's books are on my keeper shelves. One Tough Texan and Sunny Says are particularly memorable. I jumped at the chance to read Plain Jane's Texan and was really surprised to find that it was so atypical and so ordinary compared to her earlier books from the now defunct Loveswept line. I'm just wondering if different editors and different lines can make that much variation. Maybe so.

Eve Ellison has lived in the shadow of her sister Irish all their lives. Irish, a model, has asked Eve to be her maid of honor. Eve feels like an ugly duckling as she walks down the aisle, but to Matt Crow, also in the wedding party, Eve is an angel. He's a goner. It's just that simple.

Priding herself on her brains because she's so lacking in the looks department, Eve rarely pays any attention to her appearance. Her sister comments that Eve's hair cut looks as though it's been done with a weed whacker. Her clothes are beyond shapeless. Still, Matt doesn't see anything that needs improvement with his angel.

The story line is quite simple. Matt is attracted to Eve. Eve thinks that she's too plain to keep the interest of this gorgeous Texas millionaire. He wants her. She questions why. He wants to marry her. She scoffs at his advances. He's perfect; she's got a faulty mirror which has given her problems with her self-image all her life. Why would this gorgeous man want her? After a while, I began to wonder the same thing. Why did the perfect man want the woman who could not believe that she was worthy of love.

Now to Mr. Perfect. Matt is rich and is becoming richer. He's the owner of an airline patterned very closely to Southwest Airlines, down to the seat assignments which are indeed referred to in the book and in real life as cattle call seating. To get Eve to move to Texas, Matt finagles a job for her at a friend's ad agency, and she's been put in charge of the advertising for the airline. Considering that we're the fly on the wall for this scenario, we know how his help – interference, really – is going to go over when Eve discovers how she got her job. And does she discover? Well, is a snake low to the ground? Do cats shed? Is Texas big?

What saves this story from a lower rating is that at least the characters' actions aren't clichéd. Matt has a few setbacks with Eve, yet uses his energizer batteries to keep pursuing her. Eve isn't hateful or shy. Perhaps a better title for this book would have been Clueless. That's what she is for most of the book. Neither Matt nor Eve developed into annoying, juvenile, immature characters.

Matt is perfect; Eve is lovely but doesn't know it. The relationship is sweet and gentle. But with all of that, it didn't work for me. Maybe you'll be luckier. I hope so. Jan Hudson is too talented a writer for me to give up on. I'll just wait patiently for her next one, hoping that it will be as good as some of her earlier ones.

--Linda Mowery


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