Hey, Good Looking
By Kathleen Rowland
Jun 15, 2007 - 9:00:00 AM

Friends from the age of three, Darby Lane and Russell Gunn know each other inside-out but have never been lovers.   After they're awarded master's degrees, he drags her to his lawyer's office.   He explains that his trust fund mandates a will and she's the executor.  She's reluctant to take on the responsibility until he shares his deep concern about organ removal.   Russell reminds her of his comatose friend.   Just before his organs were about to be removed, his buddy woke up!   Darby takes Russell's fear to heart, but he lightens the moment by telling her he plans to live forever.  Always in touch, Russell becomes a teacher, and Darby leaves home to start a career in the dollhouse business.


Ten years later, Darby travels to Scotland to hand-deliver a dollhouse to a disabled child.   She brings a bottle of scotch home to Russell.   She arrives home to Baton Rouge to learn of his death from a car accident and sudden funeral.   Miserable, she nearly finishes the bottle at the cemetery.   Ben, Russell's younger brother, notices her drunken state at the cemetery and takes her home to be with the three aunts who raised her.


Her aunts, the Lane sisters, are Ben's surrogate mothers, too, in Baton Rouge's elite historical Horseshoe district.  Ben, Russell, and their sister spent their childhood with Darby's aunts in order to escape their self-serving stepmother and wimpy father.   Ben rescues Russell's dog, Willie, that was placed in the pound by their stepmother, Bella. After Ben gives the dog to Darby, woman and dog are inseparable. Thankful for Ben's kindness, a special place for him grows in her heart.


Bella is honored with a coveted invitation to a social tea given by the historical society, the town's silky inner circle.   Previously an outsider, Bella receives many compliments for her generous donation of Russell's organs.   Not only that, her house is nominated for the Christmas house tour, a gesture of acceptance. Bella's joy leads to everyone else's misery. The aunts complain to Darby that Bella donated all of Russell's organs two hours after his accident. Neither Ben nor his sister knew. Wild with anger, Darby retrieves documentation of Russell's instructions on tape. Darby was with him when his living will was placed on file at the Gunn Foundation and holds Bella and Russell's father, Marcus Gunn, responsible for having his organs donated.


Aghast at her own failure to carry out her best friend's wishes, Darby is out for blood.   She pays hackers to pull the names of every donor recipient in the hopes to destroy Bella. Ben, after a long and patience silence, convinces her to consider the repercussions. Adding just the right touch to their conversations, Ben helps her heal. Darby muses about a dollhouse she's making and realizes she wants a husband and family of her own. With Ben at her side, she visits his father, Marcus Gunn. When she sees his father's drugged condition, she believes Bella is keeping him in this state in order to gain control. Darby encourages Ben to reconcile with his father. Both Darby and Ben suffer a different kind of loss, but affectionate love builds between them. Is it their destiny to be together?


Author Fern Michaels doesn't hold back when she breathes life into exuberant Darby and dedicated Ben in HEY, GOOD LOOKING. Michaels builds on the affectionate relationship between Darby and Ben. I was overcome with emotion when Ben offers his sympathy to Darby in her time of need.   With a flair for the natural, Michaels portrays the three warm and witty aunts with emotion, intelligence, and individuality.   Darby, Ben, and the aunts each place their unique perspectives on the timely subject of organ donation and the challenges of family unity.   My heart warmed when one of the aunts pulls Marcus into the fold. I pitied Bella when she tore off in her Cadillac after a social humiliation.   HEY, GOOD LOOKING by Fern Michaels is a fabulous book that I will no doubt read again and again and recommend to all my friends.  

© Copyright 2003 by