Zebra, Jun 2003, 6.50, 352 pp.
All Jake Jarvis wants besides the love of his four-year-old son Noah, whom he raises by himself, is to be accepted as a serious sports reporter. Instead, his station has started an ad campaign claiming he is Los Angeles' “studliest” sportscaster, a situation that Jake finds embarrassing. When he learns he is a contestant on the Dream Date TV show, he wants to refuse but that is not an option if Noah is to eat.
Actress Marley Madison has been a famous Hollywood star for over two decades, but is now type cast as a sassy, sexy southern belle with her career over at twenty-seven. Her agent suggests she prove she can play other roles by stepping out of character as a girl next door contestant on Blind Date, but not revealing that she exchanged identities with her twin to anyone until she completes the gig.
At the Blind Date studio, Jake and Marley meet over coffee, but though they act like oil and water something simmers between them that the producer notices. They are paired up as a team with no chance of winning as their personalities are so far apart. Still this duo can win a bigger prize than a TV show's award as love enters the mix.
This amusing contemporary romance focuses on opposites attracted to one another. Though Marley's “pauper” switch has been used often and one must wonder how twins were raised so differently (separate households?), the lead female character makes it feel real. The audience will want her and Jarvis to make it and will look forward to the sequel starring her twin in her shoes.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner