4 stars and a half

Category Romance Review: Changing the Rules by Gina Wilkins

Changing the Rules, Gina Wilkins, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist unknown
Harlequin Temptation #299
4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Plot

Changing the Rules is a sweet Harlequin Temptation from Gina Wilkins. Elise Webber and Dustin Chandler are two career-oriented people living in Georgia. He’s a high-powered attorney, she’s a news anchor for Atlanta’s top station. They’ve been dating for six months. Dustin is not a marriage-minded type of man, nor is Elise looking for anything more than a short-term relationship. The pair have an active, satisfying sex life and Elise has been diligent about taking her birth control pills. However, as Jurassic Park taught us, life always finds a way.

Elise’s pregnancy is a shock to both her and Dustin. Elise was the product of a single mother, who resented being a parent, and so Elise never thought about having children herself. But now that she’s pregnant, Elise knows what she has to do. Elise graciously allows Dustin an “out.” While Dustin might not be a lifetime commitment kind of guy, he’s not an irresponsible deadbeat, either. He has just as much to do with the pregnancy as Elise does and he vows to support her whether she chooses to keep the baby or give him/her up for adoption.

Consequently, Elise quits her job and decides it’s better to be out of state and away from the press. Perhaps in NYC or LA a single, pregnant woman could keep her high-profile job in the media, but there were still reservations about such things in the American South circa 1990.

To her surprise, Dustin comes with her, so the two move into a rural neighborhood to play house. They meet new people who are vastly different from themselves. They adjust to having to do their own household jobs, rather than paying laborers to do so. And as time goes by, Dustin and Elise learn that they enjoy living a more sedate, less fast-paced lifestyle. What’s more, they genuinely begin to truly care for one another, as their relationship becomes much deeper than just sex.

Final Analysis of Changing the Rules

Will Dustin and Elise realize that being together forever isn’t such a crazy idea? That despite their doubts and hesitancy, they can be good parents? After all, these folks are successful, intelligent adults, so why shouldn’t they be able to do what millions of people do: pair bond and create a family?

The journey to their revelations is a gratifying trip through Romancelandia. Perhaps these two were just too thick-headed for their own goods, foolishly believing that love and family were for “other” people, not their elite selves. But love is funny that way, as Cupid’s arrows affect us all: rich or poor, male or female, young or old, and everybody else in between.

And so Elise and Dustin learn to change the rules of the game because it’s much more delightful playing for keeps.

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