Chance of a Lifetime, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Sunday, June 29, 2003

With Chance of a Lifetime, I've exhausted my cache of unread Jayne Ann Krentz titles.

Rachel Wilder believed that investigator Abraham Chance had made her sister the scapegoat in an embezzlement scam, and she decided to do something, she didn't know what. When she showed up unexpected at his rundown home, and he mistook her for the new housekeeper, Rachel went along with his mistake.

It didn't take Chance long to figure out that Rachel was no housekeeper. He decided that she had a secret, and he desperately wanted to know what it was, almost as much as he wanted her for himself. Rachel found herself falling passionately for this man who was supposed to be the enemy. Surely this man wasn't responsible for her sister's problem?
Nothing too spectacular here, but it did have some elements I especially liked. It was a B for me.

I really liked Chance. Luckily, the mistaken identity plot is not taken too far. He knows she's not who she says she is, and isn't angry, just wants to know everything about her because he's fast becoming more and more attracted to her and needs her to trust him. I appreciated the fact that, at first, he thinks she's running from someone and wants her to know that she's safe at Snowball's Chance, and trust him.

Rachel was likeable, too. It's pefectly reasonable that she believed her sister when she told her Chance was responsible for her problems, and I was pleasantly surprised that she almost immediately started doubting this, when she got to know Chance better.

It was interesting to see Chance deal with his family. His sister was nicely symmetrical to Rachel's sister, both whiny brats who needed to grow up and stop relying on their older siblings to deal with their problems. Having Chances mom and Mindy's new boyfriend be decent people was a nice touch, and much better than if the whole family had been a dysfunctional nightmare. Oh, and a little detail that I found funny: his sister called Chance by his last name too. Doesn't that sound weird?

As always, I had a problem with the suspense subplot. This element is what I tend to find lacking in old JAK books. They're not integral to the plot at all. On one hand, this means that the emphasis is on romance and that the suspense stays firmly in the background throughout most of the book. On the other hand, when this element of the plot does come front and center, it feels very strange, because it completely changes the tone of the book. I guess the problem is that it feels like JAK wrote a book and her editor told her "Love your story, but our line requires a suspense subplot" "Oh, ok, I'll add one then". What I mean is, it feels perfunctory, only there because it has to be and not because it's something the story needs in order to work.

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