Stand in Wife
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2 2011, $5.50
While interviewing on a job out of town, Merry Coltrane breaks her leg. She pleads with her twin sister Vivienne Jansen to pretend to be her like they did as kids so her estranged husband Charlie who walked out on her and their three kids will not know as he sues for visitation rights. Flying in from New York, the theater costume designer arrives in Auckland, New Zealand to temporarily masquerade as Merry when the latter’s mother-in-law Linda dies with the former in the house in Hamilton.
Vivi as Merry helps arrange the funeral while caring for her sister’s children and keeping her brother-in-law at a distance as Merry’s husband seeks a reconciliation. Although overwhelmed Vivi handles all this with aplomb until Charlie’s brother Ross (support role in Here Comes the Groom), the injured Special Forces operative, comes home. Ross finds himself inexplicably attracted to his sister-in-law; while Vivi reciprocates but as Merry has to hide her feelings.
Twins switching is an old theme, but Karina Bliss makes it refreshing with a zany madcap romance. The support cast is a delight as they add madness to the wild comedic New Zealander comedy. Still the bottom line is the romantic subplot as Ross and Vivi fall in love in a wonderful example of chaos theory at work.