Taking Care of the Twins
Don’t let my C+ grade put you off; if you’re a devoted Robin Lee Hatcher fan, you’ll undoubtedly like this book more than I did (even with as silly and misleading a title as the publisher hung on this one). As category reads go, it was better than many and a nice summer diversion, but that’s pretty much it.
Shayla Vincent wants to be a mystery writer. As the eldest of many brothers and sisters (none of whom are twins), Shayla has done nothing but serve as surrogate parent to her sibs as well as built-in-nanny for her parents. But now Shayla has inherited an isolated Idaho cabin and a little money, so she heads for the hills with her computer in tow in the hopes of making her literary dreams come true. Shayla has never been married and has no twins.
Ian O’Connell is a handsome widower who owns the ranch adjacent to Shayla’s property. They meet when Ian rides over to Shayla’s cabin to offer her a job as part-time housekeeper. In trade, he’ll work fixing up her cabin. Since the cabin needs a lot of fixin’, Shayla agrees. Though a widower, Ian has no twins.
Ian has been alone for ten years and he bears the burden of his wife’s death on his shoulders (she was leaving him when she was killed in a car accident). Ranch life is harsh and one woman has already proven she couldn’t hack it, so Ian decides that all women will feel the same way and has made no effort to remarry. Still, Ian holds a little hope that the right woman may yet come along and give him the love and the children he longs for.
For her part, Shayla has had it with raising children. The last thing she wants is to marry and have a family. She’s got her eye on her career as a writer, and when she finds herself attracted to Ian, she puts up all kinds of roadblocks to keep him away.
So where do the twins come in? They are Ian’s 6-year-old nieces. Halfway through the book, Cathy and Angie come to stay with Ian while their parents travel to the Middle East in relation to their father’s job. I’ll have more to say about this in a moment.
This is a straight-forward story – no real surprises anywhere – but Ian and Shayla are very likable. They’re nice people and they deserve love. They each have a lot of angst to deal with, and a Little Misunderstanding gets in their way in terms of why Shayla believes Ian really likes her, but it doesn’t drag on too long.
The problem I had with this book was a very basic one: the twins were not only unnecessary to Ian’s and Shayla’s romance, they were implausible. No mother I know would leave her 6-year-old children in the care of a bachelor uncle for a week, let alone an entire year. This just did not ring true to me. Ian’s sister did not have to go with her husband – it was optional. There is no way I would leave my two young children for a year, especially without having identified a full-time caregiver and solved the local school district’s paperwork requirements for kindergartners. But this is a fantasy, after all, so if you can get past this premise, you’ll be doing okay.
Ian and Shayla both talk out loud to themselves often – a fundamental no-no in writing. It makes characters seems unbalanced (unless that’s the author’s goal, and in this case, both Ian and Shayla are rational people).
Overall, these are nice characters who take the reader quickly through a nice story. The devils that torment Ian and Shayla are believable so, if you’re looking for a pleasant departure, Taking Care of the Twins ought to take care of the problem for you. Still, if you’re interested in a terrific Robin Lee Hatcher read, I recommend Desert Isle Keeper Patterns of Love.