Anything For His Children
by Karen Templeton
(Silh. Int. Mom. #978, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07978-8
***
Opposites are supposed to attract and it is especially true in Anything For His Children. In the one corner we have Guy Sanford -- a hunk with a ponytail, earring and, most importantly, three children abandoned when his wife ran off with an Italian Romeo. Guy is doing is best to attend to their physical needs, when he realizes that the emotional problems of his oldest child, eight-year-old Ashli, require immediate attention.

A realtor by profession, Guy responds to an ad for a job opening in Michigan. He hopes the small town environment will help him make inroads into his daughter's anger. He moves into an apartment while waiting for his house to sell back in the big city.

In the other corner, there is Elizabeth Louden, daughter of the owner of the real estate agency. A perfectionist by disposition, Elizabeth is also a strait-laced control freak who is not particularly gracious when things do not go her way. Elizabeth is also convinced that the nurturing gene was omitted from her make-up.

Elizabeth’s mother is fearful that Elizabeth is on the same straight and narrow path to terminal loneliness that she had once followed. Immediately, she sees her new employee as possible son-in-law material.

Elizabeth is annoyed and frightened when she is immediately captivated by Guy. With just the three of them in the office, he is hard to avoid. He represents everything that generally turns her off, especially his three children. Nonetheless, Elizabeth starts imaging how she would fit in as a mother. Meanwhile, Ashli is convinced that if her father ever marries again, her mother will never come back.

Neither Ashli nor Elizabeth would ever get my vote for the easiest person to get along with. The dialogue is not particularly crisp, and enough clichés are thrown in to make the story feel dated at times. The transformation of Elizabeth's personality is a bit too speedy and therefore not very realistic. However, the author does manage to convert Elizabeth's greatest faults into real assets in the change.

There is a lot happening in this novel; from a thinly disguised save the environment message to “people are not always what their fashion wardrobe suggests.” As for the romance, Anything For His Children is a monument to the saying: "Lust, Oops, I mean Love conquers all." The romance is the best part since it is relatively uncluttered.

Thea Davis


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