A Perfect Pair

Ticket to Love by Jen Safrey
(Silh. Sp. Ed #1697, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-24697-8
Ticket to Love has “big misunderstanding” written all over it with predictable results. The strength of the friendship and sassy wit of the two people involved are not enough to overcome that predictability.

Someone has just won 35 million dollars in the New York State lottery and the ticket was purchased at a little neighborhood store called Bread and Milk. Owner Rosalia says she doesn't know who bought it and no one else is saying. Let the speculations begin.

Acey (a nickname for Annamaria Christiana or AC) Corelli and her sister Steph are two neighbors dying to know who won. Since it wasn't them, they really want to live vicariously. Acey works at Foccacia's Pizza and at age 29, is determined to enjoy life. She just has no money to do it. She quit community college when she decided she didn't know what she wanted to do and had better uses for her money. Now she and Steph are just making ends meet. When she meets new neighbor Harry (short for Harrison) Wells, things start looking up (and the lies begin).

Harry is actually the heir to a Texas ranching fortune. Bored and with too much money to his name, he became a daredevil, trying every dangerous sport under the sun. But he is newly recovered from a horseback riding incident where he and the horse both got hurt. The horse was put down and Harry has scars beyond his broken leg. He has moved to Valley Stream, New York (with only his sister and best friend knowing where he is) in order to get his life back and figure out who he really is. He is writing grants for non-profits and trying not to use any of his millions.

So Acey meets Harry and is instantly attracted to him. But she also thinks he is hiding something and immediately jumps to the conclusion that he is the lottery winner. She also decides he is worried that money will ruin him, so he doesn't want to come forward to claim it. Acey decides to befriend Harry and convince him that money is not the root of all evil and that he could actually help a lot of people with the money, without letting on that she knows he won the lottery. Harry, meanwhile, has no idea of this plot and he is determined to show Acey that a person can live very happily without money. (See, he is interpreting her constant talk of ways to spend money as meaning that she is desperate for it.) Obviously, their two secrets will collide one day.

Acey is fun-loving and we are told that she actually hates men with money due to a previous relationship when she got shunned by a rich guy and his family. Yet she is determined that Harry will collect his winnings. But she also wants to make it clear she is doing it for him, not so she can share in it. Things get complicated when she actually starts falling for the guy.

Harry has been raised as a selfish, rich man with the world and women at his feet. He seems gentle, caring and a really nice guy and supposedly this turnaround came about because of this one accident. It is a little hard to buy. It is also a little hard to buy that he is bound and determined to show someone who doesn't have any money how great life can be, when he has never had to worry about paying the rent rather than eating, and never will.

What really dooms Ticket to Love, however, is the collision of their lies. It is inevitable and thus, uninspiring. Relationships built on lies have never really worked for me, and this one is no exception. Find another ticket if you want a great love story.

Shirley Lyons

--Shirley Lyons

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