by Jennifer Shirk, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-953-0
Sandra Moyer doesn't trust actors. She was married to one once upon a time until she caught him cheating with some floozy. Alas, she's not having much luck when it comes to her preschool business so she has to let actor Ben Capshaw stick around and observe how the preschool is run for research purposes in exchange for the publicity that Ben's presence will generate. I personally don't know what Ben's agent is smoking since everyone who is someone in show business knows that you should never, ever make an actor co-star with children or animals. It didn't work for Vin Diesel, it didn't work for Matt leBlanc, and I doubt it will work for Ben Capshaw. Of course, Ben turns out to be good with the kids and Sandra's in love. What will happen now?
The Role Of A Lifetime features an always charming heroine: one who tars all men of a certain profession with a single brushstroke and behaves very rudely without any prompting to Ben from the get go. Ben doesn't behave very charmingly at first either, but Sandra fires the first shot so it's not as if I can blame him for her nonsense. As the story progresses, Miss Judgmental Thing decides that, after judging him worthy of her shrewish affections, she has earned herself the right to make demands from him in order for their relationship to work. Frankly, I find Sandra an annoying high-maintenance type who would do well to stop and consider that perhaps she should start dishing out respect and affection before demanding them and everything else from Ben as if she's entitled to them.
Ben is a much more palatable character in that his biggest crime is being a stereotype. He's the commitment-shy playboy who discovers that he's good with the heroine's kids, kids in this case referring to the kids at her preschool center as well as her actual kids, and therefore he's actually pretty happy to be shackled and domesticated. The secondary characters are familiar as well - they too are recognizable stereotypes behaving predictably according to the script.
The Role Of A Lifetime is a familiar story, and a most readable one at that. However, the heroine's irritating personality pushes this story slightly from the "okay" territory towards "annoying".
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