Help A Bitch Out

HaBO-Thon: Grandma Said No Romance For You

Lindlee is looking for a romance she got a bare taste of 15 years ago:

I have a HaBO request that’s a bit unique. I know most people request help finding their first romance. Mine is more for the first romance that might have been.

Long ago, I was shopping with my grandmother and found a book that sounded interesting. I wanted it but I also knew it was a grown-up book. I remember asking my grandmother if it was too grown-up for me. I think I wanted her to say “Oh no, you can read that!” but she agreed with me. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but looking back I was too young to read a romance at that time. Romances came back into my life in junior high when I was ready for them. But this book has always stuck in my head, and I’ve always wished I had the chance to read it.

So here’s what I know (and remember I only read the back cover). It would have come out in the early ‘90s. I’m 99.9% sure it was a Harlequin, and I want to say maybe a suspense? The story was about a woman stepping into her twins’ life for some reason and having to deal with the twin’s husband (or ex-husband?). I don’t know what happened to the twin (dead? Disappeared? Joined the circus?). I think this book is why I’m a sucker for a good twin story, especially one where one twin has to assume the other’s life for awhile (I’m LOVING Ringer right now).

Anyway, I know it’s not much to go on, but I just had to try. This has been bugging me for 15+ years.

Anyone remember this book? This will be a tough one, I’m betting. It might take, oh, an entire 20 minutes for someone to name the book, author, date of publication, ISBN, chapter and verse. Because y’all pretty much know freaking everything, especially about HaBOs.


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  1. 1
    Sybylla says:

    I don’t know if this is it or not, but there’s a Sandra Brown book from about the right time period called The Switch.

    Here’s the Amazon description:

    Identical twins Melina and Gillian Lloyd haven’t considered switching places since childhood. So when Melina proposes that Gillian take her place as a media escort to NASA astronaut Col. “Chief” Hart, she refuses…at first. The following morning Melina receives terrible news: her sister has been brutally murdered-and Chief, though innocent, is the prime suspect. He and Melina are determined to find the killer, a megalomaniac whose horrific schemes require Gillian’s replacement, her identical twin-Melina.

  2. 2
    cin says:

    Well, it is not a Harlequin, but Deceptions by Judtih Michael was written in the early 90’s and had the whole twin switcheroo thing going on.  I actually loved the book, and I am not usually a huge fan of this sort of plot device.

  3. 3
    Liz says:

    It sounds like it could be My Sister, Myself by Tara Taylor Quinn, but I don’t know when that was published because I received it from a neighbor in the early 2000’s.

    Here’s what I remember: Sister #1’s husband was an abusive asshat, who decided to kill her because he couldn’t have her, but instead of killing her he kills her identical twin sister.  The police believe that sister #2 is sister #1 so the husband thinks he has succeeded.  Sister #1 decides to take over dead sister’s life and takes her job as a college professor.  Eventually, she falls for one of the students, who is older than the others.  Student finds out the secret, and feels betrayed.  The abusive ex dies, and they all live happily ever after.

  4. 4
    Kristi says:

    Sandra Brown’s Mirror Image is my FAVORITE! Not true twins though, just look alikes and there was a plane crash… anyway. Must read!

  5. 5

    There was absolutely no shortage of “twin” stories in the 80s and 90s. LOL The one that popped out at me, though, was a duet (two books) released by Silhouette Intimate Moments in 1993 by Mary Anne Wilson.


    Ali Sullivan would do anything for her sister! But she knew one ‘simple’ weekend with Jackson Graham would be anything but…The gruffly handsome detective was supposed to keep her alive, though if he learned who she really was, maybe she would be better off dead.

    Jack had better things to do than baby-sit some mobster’s mistress until she could testify. He despised women like her, but when he met Miss Sullivan, he knew he was in trouble. He’d expected her to be beatuiful and tough, but her stunning green eyes were filled with innocence and vulnerability – a lethal combination as far as his heart was concerned.

    SISTER, SISTER DUET: Two halves of a whole, two parts of a soul.

    And Two Against The World


    Steven Rider was in the witness protection program, hiding in a Colorado mountain cabin. And no one was supposed to find him! But he found an unconscious, frostbitten redhead. Who was this sultry stranger? Was she as innocent as she looked, or was she a hired killer sent to prevent him from testifying?

    When Alicia Sullivan’s car slid into a snowbank, her plans were foiled. Until a handsome loner rescued her from the storm…and possibly from making the worst mistake of her life. He was kind, generous…and secretive. But how could she expect him to tell her the truth, when she had secrets of her own?

    SISTER, SISTER DUET: Two halves of a whole, two parts of a soul.

    It’s funny. I don’t remember the books, but I remember the cover of the first book VERY clearly. LOL.

  6. 6

    Er…sorry. The first book was Two for the Road. LOL. That info would have helped, eh?

  7. 7
    Amber says:

    The date and publisher aren’t right, but the story is almost exactly like Broken by Shiloh Walker. It is a suspense, and the heroine steps in as her twin sister to help evade and then confront her abusive hubby. So, you might enjoy it.

    Oh, and that was kind of a spoiler. But there was really no way to suggest it otherwise.  Sorry :D

  8. 8
    Daisy says:

    There is an old Blaze from that time period – have absolutely no knowledge of the name of the book – but it was about a twin who was having breast implants done before her wedding and she needed her sister to step in with the fiance and best man (who was coming to town to meet her) while she recovered because she wanted to surprise the fiance with her new look once she was all healed. 

    The twin does – against her better judgement – and ends up falling for the best man, who thinks she is cheating on his best friend and hijinx ensue.

    This post is absolutely no help – but it is a twin story from the right time period.  =)

  9. 9
    Ann says:

    No help what-so-ever, but this sent me into a tailspin looking for a sister book.  Lord!  What HABO does to a person!  *(It took 90 minutes, but yes, the book was Secret Sisters by Ann Maxwell—which involved in part people being hunted like big game…)

  10. 10
    EmmyS says:

    I read a book just like this, but it was back in the early to mid 80’s. Now, of course, I can’t remember who wrote it. If I recall correctly, one of the twins was a photographer, and she died, and her twin stepped into her life and the husband and kids had no clue. Any ideas? It was not a series novel.

  11. 11
    Carolanne says:

    Daisy, that’s Thursday’s Child by Sandra Brown

  12. 12
    Sybylla says:

    Okay…so I just came back to read further comments to see what else people had come up with, and I have a very serious question:

    Just how many twins-switching-identities books has Sandra Brown written? 

    I think there’ve been ten books mentioned as possibilities so far, and three of them are by her?  Clearly I have not read nearly as much of her backlist as I’d thought I had.

  13. 13
    Susan says:

    Wow.  Sounds like the whole “twins switching places” trope is a subdivision of romance – subgenre?  Is that a word?

    I would bet the book was Deceptions.  There was even a miniseries based on it.  See , 1 twin was married, and the other wasn’t.  So, when they switched places, hubby naturally expected…ahem.

  14. 14
    EmmyS says:

    @Susan – yes! I just looked Deceptions up on Amazon, and that’s the one I was thinking of! I had thought it was a lot older – I seem to recall reading it in high school, but they claim it was published in 1994. Whatever.

  15. 15
    Jessica E says:

    Barnes & Noble says that it was originally published in 1982 and reissued in ‘83 and ‘94.  So you were correct initially.  I’ve loved reading about twins since the Sweet Valley High Christmas book.  I still try to read that book every Christmas.

  16. 16
    riga says:

    Ha, I wondered if it was Deceptions! The miniseries is delicious cheese, probably my favorite non-BBC miniseries of all time. I’ve rewatched more than once on Youtube (will no one give me a proper DVD of it? I would buy it if I could, believe me.)

  17. 17
    Char says:

    The Wrong Twin by Rebecca Winters

    Abby Clarke discovers she’s pregnant – with no husband, no job and no immediate prospects. But like the answer to a prayer, her twin sister Kellie comes to her rescue.

    Kellie, recently married, insists Abby go to her husband’s ranch in Montana for a few weeks to rest, consider her options, plan for the future. There’s a problem though: Abbey’s never met Max Sutherland, Kellie’s husband. And for some reason, Kellie hasn’t told him she’s got a twin sister. Still, Max is supposed to be away on business for a month…

    But Max comes home – to find the wrong woman in his bed. A pregnant woman who looks just like his wife. His wife, who’s disappeared…

    This needs to come out in ebook so I can read it. The plot sounds crazy!

  18. 18
    Ducky says:

    My first thought is Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney, but the hero isn’t the twin’s husband but rather investigating her activities in conjunction with some spying. If a butterfly tattoo doesn’t ring any bells, that’s not it.

  19. 19
    SB Sarah says:

    I have a new comment from Katie, who says:

    I have a title that
    leapt to mind when I read the synopsis and didn’t see it mentioned in the
    comments. If there was a way you could pass it on to the original poster, I
    hope it can help!

    My thought was that she was looking for the second book in a Sally Wentworth
    duet called Ghost of the Past and published in ‘91 or ‘92

    The first book is Twin Torment. The books feature twins Virginia & Venetia Barclay,
    one or both of whom were models. In Twin Torment, Ginny meets Alex in an
    airport/on a flight to somewhere and they don’t exchange names, but he sees
    her monogrammed carry-on and doesn’t realise when he later meets Venetia and
    is introduced to her twin Ginny that Ginny was the woman he met first. Both
    women fall in love with Alex but he chooses Venetia and Ginny fades into the
    background never to be heard from again.

    Fast-forward a few years to Ghost of the Past and Venetia has somehow died
    tragically (car accident, possibly?), creating a scenario where Alex comes
    to Ginny and she gets a second chance with him. I remember this series
    mostly because I always thought Ginny really got the short end of the stick.
    First she didn’t get the guy. Then she was excommunicated from her sister’s
    life. Then she only got a chance with the guy because her sister died. In
    retrospect, Ginny deserves far more than she gets.

  20. 20
    Cat says:

    Thank you for recommending us!

    For the main topic, my absolute favourite romance in the last few months was Jericho by Ann McMan, which is weighty, funny, loving and amazingly well written. She’s just brought out a new book, Dust, which also looks extremely good.

    Karin Kallmaker is an author of consistently average lesbian romance – mostly light reading with enough issues to keep you interested, about two women falling in love.

    Clara’s Story by Dorreen Perrine was decent, about a woman coming out to herself, dealing with her parents, and falling in love with a lovely Italian artist.

    Merry Shannon has written two amazing books: a historical fantasy called Sword of the Guardian, which involves a bodyguard and her ward, as they grow up and finally fall in love, and Branded Ann, an awesome, believable pirate story.

    For a fluffier, more romance-like pirate story, there’s The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody.

    L-J Baker has written a handful of lesbian fantasies, including Lady Knight (mediaeval-historical), and Broken Wings (urban fantasy), which art both romances.

    Huntress by Malinda Lo is a good young adult fantasy love story. Ash isn’t as good, especially not if you’re after ‘romance’, as it is much more about the growing up and finding herself aspects.

    The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer is a wonderful lesbian take on the Persephone myth, and her other stories also tend to beautifully written happily ever after fantasies (see Cage the Darlings and One Solstice night under her pseudonym Elora Bishop).

    Curious Wine by Katherine V Forrest is a classic that’s never really gone out of favour.

    Chris Anne Wolfe’s fantasy/scifi books are all definitely at least half romance (both the books in the Amazons of Aggar series, as well as Roses & Thorns – Beauty and the Beast Retold)

    That’s probably enough to start with – as you can see, I’m heavily skewed to the ‘fantasy’ genre!

    Some other good lesbian book review sites (mostly already mentioned) include:

    And if it’s F/F you’re after, then:

  21. 21
    Peggie J 18 says:

    There are many more terrific LGBT publishers. Check out award winning Bywater Books, featuring the work of Val McDermid, Marianne Martin and Georgia Beers, as well as other best selling authors, Blue Feather Books, P.D. Publishing, Inc., Regal Crest Books and L-Book, the publisher of Jae, the author who has won multiple awards.

  22. 22
    SeaLaughing says:

    As both a published author & a long-time supporter of the G&L community, I believe this is an example of the bullied becoming bullies themselves.  What none of you seem to understand is that there are many genres & sub-genres in the field of romance.  This particular chapter is concerned with paranormal romances ONLY.  There are G&L romances being written & published; those are considered part of another genre.  For the G&L community to insist on inclusion EVERYWHERE is like Catholics whining because they aren’t invited to the Hanukkah parties!

    I really believe that many younger members of the G&L community are intent on becoming martyrs, and that saddens me.  My sibling is bi, but even before he admitted this to me, I already had numerous G&L friends.  I support gay rights, including same-sex marriage, but I feel many of the G&L community are seeing discrimination where none exists.

    I’m of mixed racial heritage, but I look white.  When I was younger, a black man accused me of prejudice because I refused to go out with him.  He wouldn’t believe my refusal was due to the fact that he behaved like a complete jerk, because it was easier to be a martyr & call me a bigot than face the fact that his own behavior alienated me.  I think, in many cases, the same thing is happening among members of the G&L community.

    The G&L community sees themselves as being bullied by the rest of the world, and refused to look at how they are bullying others!

    This chapter has the right to limit their contest to specific material, and if you don’t fit that criteria, it doesn’t necessarily indicate discrimination.  They also were not accepting Young Adult stories, or Regency, or many other categories, because all they were concerned with was a narrow slice of the romance field that they, themselves, specialized in.  You’re attacking them over their personal preferences, but how is this any different from those who try to make gays give up THEIR personal preferences?
    I’m hetero, & I couldn’t begin to count the number of lesbians who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, insisting that I’m just “a virgin” and they can “make me like it.”  I don’t hold the actions of a few against the whole, but to me, the pressure they put on me to convert me to their lifestyle is no different than the Christians who attempt to ‘cure’ gays & lesbians.  And this is more of the same: you have the right to live your life without being harassed, but you have no right to harass others who don’t agree with YOUR lifestyle.

    I’ve heard many people – who aren’t homophobic – complaining lately that they’re sick of hearing the G&L community ‘whine’ over every little imagined slight.  It seems to me, and to others I’ve spoken with, that many gays are becoming paranoid and overly sensitive.  I would like to point out that over-zealous, aggressive attacks against the heterosexuals is not the way to win converts.  Trying to force others to give you respect will not work.

    The G&L community claims to hate bullying, but they need to be careful that they, themselves, do not become the thing they hate.

  23. 23
    azteclady says:

    You have to be kidding.

    Honestly, you have to.

    Because that BS doesn’t explain GLBT stories winning this same contest in the past—never mind everything else that is wrong with comparing people’s sexuality with their religion. One is what you are, the other something you are free to choose to believe in—or not, as the case may be.

    Holy f, unbelievable.

  24. 24

    “This chapter has the right to limit their contest to specific material”

    Yes, they do.

    “and if you don’t fit that criteria, it doesn’t necessarily indicate discrimination.”

    Not necessarily, no. But in this case, yes it does.

    “I’m hetero, & I couldn’t begin to count the number of lesbians who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, insisting that I’m just “a virgin” and they can “make me like it.”“

    What the *hell* has this got to do with anything (and frankly, I don’t actually believe you. Gay men and women don’t want to waste their time on straights who aren’t interested.)

    “you have the right to live your life without being harassed, but you have no right to harass others who don’t agree with YOUR lifestyle.”

    Ah. This is what we call professionally, a ‘tell’. Using the word ‘lifestyle’ for someone’s sexuality is downright ignorant, and thus your real nature is revealed. Bi sibling or not, you’re just another bigot with your tales of lesbian harrassment and false equivalences trying to argue the inarguable.

    “I’ve heard many people – who aren’t homophobic – complaining lately that they’re sick of hearing the G&L community ‘whine’ over every little imagined slight.”

    Yes, I’ve heard those people too. My people call those people ‘fuckwits’.

    “It seems to me, and to others I’ve spoken with, that many gays are becoming paranoid and overly sensitive.”

    Well, thank you Miss McStraighty DefinitelyNotaLesbianPerson for sharing your totally unbiased and informed opinion of what being GLBT feels like on the inside. I’m sure so many gay people are grateful for your special insight.

    “The G&L community claims to hate bullying, but they need to be careful that they, themselves, do not become the thing they hate. “

    What, homophobes? Not much risk of that, petal.

    Good god, how do you manage to dress yourself in the morning with an intellect as dull as yours?

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