Her Sister's Secret

 
Daddy in the House by Linda Style
(Harl. Super. #977, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-70977-3
***
Daddy in the House is based on a premise that's new to me. That's not saying it hasn't been done before, but it's one I've never run across. Linda Style has given us a child with amnesia, and that loss of memory throws her divorced parents together as they try to give their daughter some normalcy to regain her memory.

Logan Wakefield is not pleased to be getting a phone call from his ex-wife. However, when he discovers the reason for her call, he hurries to her. Their seven-year-old daughter Hallie has been in an after-school accident and isn't waking up. When she finally does, Hallie recognizes Logan but has no recollection of Dana.

Following doctors' orders, Logan moves back in with Dana and Hallie. They're going to pretend to be a normal couple in hopes that Hallie will regain her memory. What they don't count on is that proximity will broadside them, causing them both to reevaluate the reasons for their divorce. Proximity will also make them both aware that the physical side of their relationship is alive and very, very well.

Logan and Dana are both strong-willed individuals who've never learned the fine art of compromise. They've also never learned to be open and honest with the other, a situation that continues to cause them a world of grief now, much as it did the past. Dana is the more problematic of the two. What she considers self-sufficiency and self-confidence, I consider obstinacy. She's never appreciated Logan's need to help her and comes across as a mini-virago. For a smart woman, she doesn't understand a man's psyche. She needs to read Men Are From Mars. Then at least she'd know where Logan is coming from in his caveman need to solve her problems.

Logan is no angel in their relationship, either. For far too much of their marriage, he was gone with his CIA covert jobs. While he appreciated that Dana was self-sufficient, he never thought that she really needed him. These two have major unresolved issues. Neither has ever vocalized what they need from the other in their relationship. When they finally do talk over and hash out their differences, they discover that they do indeed need and complement each other.

Dana, Ms. Super Independent, has always felt that Logan neither wanted nor valued her opinions. They try to work through a mystery that permeates the whole plot, but past habits have them reacting in the same destructive way. They aren't sure if someone is after Hallie and if so, is it because of Logan's past and his CIA work or Dana's job as a prosecuting attorney. This mystery pervades the plot, yet is never resolved in a satisfactory manner. Our suspicions bounce all over the place and that dilutes the whole mystery thread.

Let me compliment Ms. Style's ability to pull us into this couple's constant sexual awareness of the other. They both know what they've lost, yet aren't sure if they can ever recover those feelings. Occasional tender moments show us what Logan and Dana once had.

What really caused me to feel lukewarm about Daddy in the House is Dana's attitude. This woman would seemingly complain that grass is green or water is wet. Nothing seems to really please her. Her Superwoman complex soon wears thin. Without any empathy or real concern for the heroine, it's hard to sustain an interest in the story.

--Linda Mowery


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