The Real Father

Babes In Arms by Kathleen O’Brien
(Harl. Super. #1047, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-71047-X
Babes in Arms is a fun, delightful romp with a rekindled romance from the past as the main story. There are flaws that could interfere if you let it, but I choose to ignore those and enjoy the many pleasures.

Dr. Heather Delaney is a second-generation pediatrician/obstetrician and loves it. She is overworked, underpaid and sadly lacking a social life, or so her nurse/best friend Mary tells her. Heather was previously engaged to her childhood sweetheart, but he broke her heart 10 years ago and she has never found anyone who could generate the same feelings. She has spent her last few months purchasing and renovating an old plantation house into a new office/home that is her dream house. All she needs to complete the work is a zoning variance from the town council.

That childhood sweetheart is Griffin Cahill. Griffin is a happy-go-lucky freelance photographer who has the reputation of a free spirited, no-commitments, and irresponsible playboy. But Griffin is feeling the lack of something in his life and he has moved back to the old hometown, Firefly Glen, to see if he can find it. He is conned into joining the town council. He is rich enough he doesn’t have to work on a daily basis, and woman still chase after him, so his reputation remains intact.

All that changes one day when Griffin’s brother, Jared, drops off his twins and leaves them in Griffin’s care for a three-week period. It seems his wife is out of town helping her family and he has important work that will take him out of the state for a few weeks. He drops off these two eight-month old boys, one in red and one in blue, along with a roomful of paraphernalia and leaves Griffin to cope. This immediately screws things up when Griffin misses the council meeting and Heather’s rezoning is voted down by one vote.

To make a long explanation short, Griffin convinces Heather she is the only one who can help him, and he can help her, so they move into her renovated new home and work together to care for these darling boys. The fun begins when there is a mix up and no one can tell the boys apart. So both boys are called Stewbert…a combination of their names Stewart and Robert. Add to the mix the rejuvenation of the old feelings between Heather and Griffin, the escapades of these twins, the small-town oddities that keep things interesting and you have the makings of an enjoyable romance.

Heather and Griffin are an unlikely pair, yet the chemistry between them is potent. Without explicit details, O’Brien is able to simulate the electricity and passion between these two and their relationship builds to its inevitable conclusion. They have fun, they laugh, they cry and they argue. When Heather’s beeper goes off just as things heat up, you groan right along with them!

There are several townspeople who add to the fun. One is Mary, the office nurse, who is an aspiring children’s writer. Her “listen up” lectures that she writes for her brothers are funny and a nice addition. Mary’s caring attitude and honest friendship helps push Heather into acknowledging her feelings for Griffin and acting on those feelings. Another is the small town mayor, who at times acts like a skunk and yet in the end is just a misguided concerned father.

The flaws are many and include the ease in which Heather forgives Griffin for past peccadilloes, some of which are only cursorily explained. I wondered why Jared would even leave his kids with Griffin, but then when he never called to check on them, I questioned a lot more. The ease in which the twins adjust to new people taking care of them was idealistic. Their episodes of baby antics lightened the mood and added to the madcap quality, but were in few ways realistic. Although these are all improbable plot devices, the entertaining and engaging writing style of this romantic comedy make it work.

When you are in the mood for an engaging romantic comedy, Babes in Arms is a good choice.

--Shirley Lyons

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