Title: A Judgement of Errors
When Tiphanie arrives at Lanleigh to hold a week of workshops on cartooning, her boyfriend, Howard, tries to persuade her to share his room. A dark, piratical-looking man alerts them to his presence. Tiphanie has a heated exchange with him. She calls him ‘Mr Sarky’ (short for sarcastic) and is glad when he says his cartography workshops have finished and he’s leaving.
Tiphanie and Howard argue when she tells him she’s looking after her niece and nephew (twins) and cat-sitting for her brother, so can’t go on holiday with him. On the last morning at Lanleigh, Tiphanie finds her best friend naked in Howard’s suite. She chucks champagne ice over Howard in his after sex sleep. Returning to her room, Tiphanie collides with ‘Mr Sarky’ who has come to collect something. He obviously thinks she spent the night with Howard. Later, he sees her drive away with a man. (It’s a dummy escort; an unpleasant incident three years back has made her nervous of being alone in the car).
Next day at her brother’s converted lighthouse, Tristan (who?) is trying to unjam the zip in Tiphanie’s jeans when ‘Mr Sarky’ walks in. He leaves thinking Tiphanie flits from man to man…like his ex-wife. Tristan tells Tiphanie the man is Kyle Cooper who lives the other side of the river.
The twins arrive and Tristan leaves. Tiphanie plays noisily with the twins. Kyle comes to complain; a cushion lands on him and bursts. He is furious. Tiphanie implies she’s lived with two men who use “artistic temperament” to excuse bad temper. Something the twins say make Kyle think Tiphanie is their mother, but won’t allow them to call her Mum. (One of the cats used to be called Chrysanthemum or Mum but must, acting on advice from a cat therapist, now be called Crystal). Kyle tells himself he can’t possibly feel anything but contempt for this woman who, as well as everything else, denies her own children.
Tiphanie watches Kyle stride away across the bridge and can’t believe she’s attracted to him. (yea, me either) One of the cats gets stuck up a tree. Tiphanie, wearing only a short nightshirt, climbs up to get it and has a terrifying experience with a stray dog. Kyle comes to the rescue. Tiphanie is very shaken. Kyle tells her he’ll watch the twins while she has a lie down. When she wakes he tells Tiphanie an accident left him with vertigo and ever since he’s suffered from acrophobia. Because he couldn’t overcome his fear, he gave up his career as a psychologist and became a cartographer and wordsmith.
that makes no sense at all to me. Fear of heights made him give up being a psychologist?
Back at home, Kyle regrets telling her anything. In spite of having seen a softer side to her, he still doesn’t like the way (he thinks) she behaves towards her children. The twins told him how they live with their grandmother so their mum can follow her career.
The twins make a scarecrow and dress it in their clothes. They abandon it near the river; it falls in face down. Kyle sees it and thinks it’s one of the twins. He jumps in and gets into difficulties. As Tiphanie drags him out, she realizes how much he means to her. Because of the way she is with him, and the twins, after the accident, Kyle begins to trust his feelings for her, thinking there must be a good reason for her not being a ‘proper mum’ to her children.
The twins go to Kyle’s to apologize for inadvertently causing his accident. They tell him their father is dead and their mum conducts an orchestra. Tiphanie is their aunt, the man Kyle thought they’d called Dad is actually Tad, Tiphanie’s twin and not her ex-husband, and Tristan is also Tiphanie’s brother.
While the twins are at Kyle’s, Howard turns up at the lighthouse. Tiphanie tells him to get lost. Later, Kyle phones Tiphanie; she thinks it’s Howard and starts talking the second she picks up the phone. Kyle learns she didn’t sleep with Howard, but her best friend did.
oh, the old ‘talking into the phone’ device.
The twins go home the next day; Tiphanie is staying until Tristan returns. Kyle, determined to straighten things out, goes to see her. They talk, agree to start afresh and begin to trust in their feelings for each other. Until Kyle’s ex-wife arrives. She is remarrying soon but doesn’t want Kyle to be happy. She goes to see Tiphanie and mentions the woman Kyle has always loved is now free to marry him. She says Kyle can’t wait to get back with Sophie. Tiphanie believes her and, hurt, says she is also going back to the only man she ever loved. Kyle’s ex-wife takes pleasure in telling this to Kyle.
Next time Kyle sees Tiphanie she is outside a hotel in the arms of a man. He thinks it’s the man his ex-wife told him about. Two days later, they unexpectedly meet at in the offices of a greetings cards publisher. The editor mentions Sophie to Kyle; they talk about Sophie’s forthcoming marriage. It’s obvious she isn’t marrying Kyle. Tiphanie realizes Kyle’s ex-wife lied. The editor wants Kyle and Tiphanie to work on an exciting project – creating verses, characters and maps for cards based on spoof science fiction novels by a reclusive author.
and yes, here are the aliens arriving in chapter 14.
Tiphanie discovers the mystery author is her father; he doesn’t anyone to know he writes the sci-fi because he’s known as a literary writer. He makes Tiphanie promise to keep his real name (and thus their relationship) secret. When Kyle sees him, he recognizes him as the man he saw Tiphanie with outside the hotel. Kyle infers Tiphanie has used her ‘Sugar Daddy’ to get work. Tiphanie makes her father tell Kyle the truth.
Eventually, Kyle and Tiphanie realize they belong together. Kyle asks Tiphanie to marry him and says he hopes all their children will be twins, and that the girls will look like her.
Tiphanie replies: ‘As long they don’t have names beginning with ‘T’, or pets with a name that can be shortened to Mum.’
You may have a lighthearted and fun novel here but this synopsis is soggy pudding. You’ve confined yourself to a recitation of events and given us very little glimpse of character and voice. You’ll need to show us what makes the usual elements of a romantic comedy fresh and new in your hands.
And mysterious reclusive fathers who don’t want to be outed as SF writers cause of their “literary careers” ...well, Stephen King makes boatloads of money, regularly leads the best seller lists AND got recognition from the National Book Foundation for his contribution to writing so her dad sounds like a twit.
And why the hell is her name spelled Tiphanie?