Author: Jan Freed
Copyright: 1996 (Harlequin); pgs. 296
Series: Harlequin Superromance #713
Who: Catherine Eliza Hamilton and Joe Tucker
Psychologist Catherine Hamilton makes a bet with her fiancé, Carl, that she can pull off a Dr. Henry Higgins (My Fair Lady): coach an ordinary guy and pass him off as a member of a prominent East Coast family. If she wins, Carl will finance her private counseling practice. If she doesn’t, she’ll put aside her career to be a society wife, like Carl’s mother. The ultimate test to prove who wins: introduce the impostor to Catherine’s snobby father, Dr. Lawrence Hamilton, a man from a sociably — if not financially — prominent Connecticut family.
Joe Tucker, recently released from the Houston Astros as their catcher, can’t seem to find a job that doesn’t involve modeling underwear. He has a 12-year-old daughter, Allie, to think about. If he doesn’t find a job soon, he’ll be reduced to working in his hometown’s refinery. If he goes along with Catherine’s bet, her tutoring will give him the polish he needs to land a job as a sports broadcaster.
Catherine is anxious to succeed. Having lived her whole life with her critical father, who rarely felt she was good enough and continually reminded her that she was like her working-class mother, she needs this victory to prove a point. Though victory will mean she’ll have her private practice, and no longer her father’s research assistant, she’s not adverse to starting a family. Catherine, who has grown up without a mother, bonds with Joe’s equally motherless daughter Allie.
For his part, Joe isn’t particularly fond of psychologists. Catherine turns out to be very perceptive, and he doesn’t want her to start digging too deeply into his issues. Like the fact he’s a lot smarter than he lets on, and why he’s squashed that particular aspect of himself. Joe is also pretty observant. He picks up on the fact that Catherine, good at making people feel better about themselves, seems to be starved for affection. He doesn’t understand how the men in her life can’t see how special she is, though Carl seems to be noticing a difference in Catherine. Even knowing that she’s engaged to another man, Joe can’t stop himself from falling in love with her.
There are two other romances in the book. The first is Allie and her crush on the dreamboat at baseball camp who’s dating Ms. Stuck-Up and Popular. It’s a cute side-story of a tomboy finally catching the eye of the good-looking boy in class. The other involves an older woman who fell in love, only to be badly burned, and now is getting a second chance at happiness.
I picked up this book based on the review on All About Romance. I’m happy to say that I agree with the reviewer. I liked watching Joe and Catherine fall in love. I can see myself re-reading this book. After I finished it, I went on-line to find other books by this author.
Started: 9 August 2008
Finished: 18 August 2008