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PERFECT SWITCH by Lisa Plumley
If you happened to be the identical twin sister of a famous television star, would you trade places with her? In Lisa Plumley's PERFECT SWITCH, Meredith Madison, a plain, quiet, historian that had never wanted to be compared to her more glamorous sister, decides to take advantage of her sister Marley's star status, replaces her at a "fantasy camp" and manages to fool almost everyone.
The novel opens with Meredith riding in a luxury limo with Tony Valentine, a very sexy man that Meredith is not aware is the head of the once successful Valentine Studios in Hollywood. She thinks she's on her way to a fantasy escape vacation, taking Marley's position since Marley is on her honeymoon, unknown to the general public. Tony fills Meredith in (since he thinks her agent has apparently forgotten to tell her what is going on) that this is not a vacation, but two weeks of work. Meredith is to be the star attraction at a fantasy acting camp, where the average Joe can attend classes and learn how to put on a television show. Her job is to help teach various classes on the art of being an actress and a star. The success of this camp will determine the future of Valentine Studios, so there is a lot at stake, and a lot of responsibility on Meredith's shoulders. Meredith has a heart attack but does not let Tony know that she is not her famous sister Marley. She's gotten herself into this mess, and she vows she'll get herself out.
Meredith does her best to be the Marley replacement, and while most of the acting camp including Tony cannot figure out what is wrong with "Marley," Meredith thinks she has them all fooled. She thinks her clothes are glamorous and does not understand that hairy legs and belching in public does not make her into a star. Tony does eventually find out the truth from Meredith, after a lot of convincing, although at first he is not totally persuaded there is a twin. But after a while he is able to tell that Meredith is no Marley. Meredith's choices in outfits, her makeup, especially her hairy legs, prove that she is a fraud. Her behavior in public was another indicator that she was not Marley.
PERFECT SWITCH is a comedy romance, with Meredith being the main act. There were plenty of funny scenes that left this reviewer giggling. However, despite the light tone that is felt throughout the book, it is also a story about a woman who is struggling to find her own identity, having always lived in the shadows of her famous sister. As Tony and Meredith get to know one another, there is an obvious spark that ignites between them, and while Tony falls in love with Meredith, Meredith firmly believes he loves her for her "Marley" look, and not for who she really is underneath the clothes and the makeup.
While this reviewer enjoyed most of the book, there were parts that appeared to go on too long. Part of the problem was not enough action, too many contemplative scenes with either Meredith or Tony "thinking out loud." Another problem in some scenes was not enough dialogue, and too much narrative for a romance of this genre. Otherwise, it was a fun ride to tinsel-town, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of show biz, with two unlikely romantic partners finding their way toward each other. A reader could do worse. Three and a half stars goes to PERFECT SWITCH. This reviewer would definitely consider reading another book by Lisa Plumley in the future.