Hers For the Weekend

Sheer Decadence
Trouble in Tennessee

A Dad for Her Twins
by Tanya Michaels
(Harl. American 1225, $4.99, PG)  ISBN  978-0373752294
A Dad for Her Twins is a nice “second chance at love” story, with two engaging leads and a couple of kids who are realistic enough to be brats at times. Single mother Kenzie Green is relocating to Atlanta for a new job as a loan officer. She’s found a house for herself and her nine-year-old twins, Drew and Leslie, but it won’t be ready for a few weeks. In the interim, Kenzie has rented an apartment, where she hopes she can at least get the kids settled in school and her job off to a new start. This isn’t as easy as it sounds; Leslie is bright and bookish, and her brother Drew is a bit of a troublemaker in class.

Also living in the Atlanta area is Ann, Kenzie’s sister. Ann seemingly has the perfect suburban life: baby, college professor husband, fabulous home. Kenzie, by contrast, married young to a wannabe rock musician who did nothing but disappoint, and who has basically forgotten his kids. Her ex is pretty much out of the picture, something that isn’t easy to explain to Drew and Leslie, who are acting out in different ways. Leslie retreats into her books, and Drew has outbursts in class.

The interim apartment is basic but serviceable. Life is uneventful except for their neighbor across the hall. Jonathan Trelauney is an artist and a widower, having lost his wife and baby daughter. He’s a curmudgeon and isn’t really interested in getting to know Kenzie or her kids, and he’s dealing with a prime case of artistic block and can’t seem to get anything on canvas. To Jonathan’s surprise, he finds himself impulsively reaching out to young Leslie, who harbors artistic dreams of her own. An invitation to visit a local museum and get a behind-the-scenes look sets the wheels of romance in motion.

Complicating things is Ann, who arrives with baby in tow and announces that she’s left her husband and won’t go back until he stops ignoring her. With a new job, a possible romance living across the hall, and a distraught sister now camped on her couch, Kenzie has her hands full trying to balance it all.

Other than the hackneyed “I’ll never love again because I lost my wife and child” bit, there’s a lot to like about this story. The kids are realistic, and exactly what nine-year-olds act like. (I wonder if the author has one at home?)  Kenzie and Jonathan are both enjoyable characters, and readers will definitely root for their happily-ever-after, as it doesn’t come without a few bumps in the road. Jonathan, in particular, must learn what the life of a single mom is all about, and there’s a lot of humor in some of his scenes.

The character of Ann is less sympathetic, as she is basically presented as a pampered princess for much of the book. Her downfall is a necessary setup to Kenzie’s growth and realization that perhaps she’s not the loser sister, after all. It’s an obvious ploy, and readers may be a bit irritated that they have to put up with whiny Ann to get there.

A Dad for Her Twins takes some oft-used romance elements and adds enough fresh air to make an enjoyable story. 

--Cathy Sova

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