Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Twins: A Review of Stand in Wife by Karina Bliss

Stand-In WifeHere Comes the Groom by Karina Bliss altered, forever, my perception of category romance. I would go so far as to say it legitimized the genre in my eyes. This, the second book in that same universe, is not nearly as ground breaking for me, but it's still very good.

Viv has always been the wild, impulsive, fun twin. But now, her sister's life is in tatters and a weight of responsibility settles on her shoulders. Suddenly, the twins have swapped places, and Vivian must adjust to the life of a soccer mom with a broken marriage and a dozen important tasks to complete. Ross, her sister's brother in law, is a reluctant accomplice in the twin's deception. Ross wants nothing more than to spend as much time as possible training to return to active duty in Afghanistan. Vivian is a distraction, with her fun personality and natural sexuality. Soon the two find themselves succumbing to lust born from years of denial.

Positive Comments

I love the family dynamics. I really felt for both Viv and Merry, and I found their life experiences as identical twins to be very believable. Yes, their situation is wacky, but their emotions are honest. A broken marriage, unfulfilled desires, feelings of inadequacy, dealing with personality labels--all issues that Bliss handles gracefully.

I like Ross and Viv together. I didn't feel the connection to Ross that I did with Dan in the first book. He's not a memorable hero, but he is likeable. He's a frustrated alpha coping with huge life changes. He makes a great balance to Viv, who embraces adventure, because he's a practical man and a planner. The sexy times are room temperature rather than hot, but that's typical for the Super Romance books.

Critical Comments

Tilly, the seven year old niece, is an utterly unlikeable brat. I thought that at some point in the story she'd learn a lesson about not always getting what she wants, or about not manipulating her parents, or about ANYTHING AT ALL...but she doesn't. She's spoiled, demanding, and has not yet developed a sense of empathy (which is not unusual for a young kid). Her lack of character arch bothered me.

Charlie, Merry's husband, is a tool. I had trouble rooting for their marriage to fixed because the guy just seemed like a giant man-child to me.


I really like Karina Bliss's books in terms of their style and the emotion that she puts into them. This wasn't my favorite, but I think you should still check out her work if you are at all interested in contemporary romance. 3.5 stars.

Stand-in Wife (Harlequin Superromance)

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