Switched, Bothered & Bewildered
by Suzanne Macpherson
(Avon Books, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-06-077494-01
****
Jillian Tompkins is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Okay, technically according to everyone else (and a beaten-down vending machine), she's already broken. But the CFO of Pittman Toys isn't allowed to be a mental patient; that would show weakness. And this former child-star is anything but weak.

So, in a moment of desperation, Jillian becomes Jana Lee Stivers, widowed suburban housewife. No, she doesn't create a fake identity, she simply assumes her sister's. Hey, it worked when they were kids, it worked in college, so why not now? Of course in college, it worked so well that Jillian ended up marrying Jana Lee's fiancÚ, but they've learned from that mistake, right?

It's a win-win situation as bored Jana Lee will get an idea of what the workforce is like and get a break from her unholy teenage daughter. She'll also get a chance to work a little romance for her stressed out sister. And, if it means giving Jillian carte blanche over her own household, well what trouble could she cause in just one week?

It turns out both twins cause more than a little trouble. Jana quickly decides to remodel the house, and tackle the handyman, which would be okay if he'd just stop calling her Jana. As for Jana, she suddenly has not only the boss's eye - but his hands too! Everything will be okay, if the twins can just keep straight who gets what man, and what life, when this is over.

Despite the confusing similarity of the twin's names (and the fact that one of the male leads is Jackson), Macpherson does a great job of giving each twin a strong personality. Jana Lee is more the Earth-mother matron type, while Jillian is a Type A all the way. It's quite cute to see them try to adapt to each other's styles, while still strongly adhering to their own principles, especially since those who only know one sister are so very baffled by the other.

As each twin walks a mile in the other's shoes, each gains a newfound respect for the other and they begin to let go of old grudges and discover just how much they actually care about each other. Macpherson pays almost as much attention to rebuilding the twins' relationship (and psyches) as she does to the love stories. All in all, Switched is a very well rounded and well-crafted romantic comedy.

Switched is filled with funny memorable characters, each with a unique voice. Oliver, who happens to be Jillian's assistant and a character that in most writers' hands would not evolve past the one-liner, isn't just a witty observer; he's actively involved in the story and adds to the heart of the tale. It's this kind of outside involvement that lends credibility to plot and makes Jillian (the harsher of the twins) a more likable character.

Switched, Bothered and Bewildered is a cute, sexy read, with emphasis on the sexy. Jana Lee and Jackson heat up the office while Dean and Jillian sizzle. The loves scenes are tactfully written, scathingly funny and very hot. For any reader looking for a quick engaging romp, Switched is definitely the book for you!

--Amanda Waters


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