Somehow, with hard work and a little luck, PAMELA MINGLE found a third career. She was a librarian first, then a teacher, and now a writer. In the summer of 2012, her debut novel, Kissing Shakespeare, was published by Delacorte Press. It’s a time-travel romance for teens. In 2013, Kissing Shakespeare won the Colorado Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her proudest “writing” moment!
So, what makes an enjoyable “secret baby” romance? First, a child complicates things but must not overpower the romance, which should always take center stage. Second, the introduction of the baby into the plot must come at a pivotal moment. Our two protagonists need to care deeply about the child and be willing to make sacrifices to assure her well-being. And last, when all is said and done, the child should bring the hero and heroine together.
In Loretta Chase’s Not Quite a Lady, Lady Charlotte Hayward is seduced and gives birth at age seventeen. The child, a boy, is given to a “good” family to raise, but Charlotte secretly hopes that someday she’ll be reunited with him. After what happened, she’s determined never to marry. Darius Carsington, our hero, also has no intention of marrying. So, of course, the two meet and sparks fly. Just when the reader is wondering when the secret baby will ever make an appearance, the author reveals the child in a surprising and clever way. When the boy goes missing, Charlotte and Darius spring into action to find him, solidifying their trust in and love for each other.
Nobody’s Baby But Mine, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, features football-playing hero, Cal Bonner, who is duped into being a “sperm donor” so the heroine can have a baby. Now he’s out for revenge. The heroine, Dr. Jane Darlington, brilliant physicist, wanted someone “with a low IQ” to father her child. Yes, it sounds strange, but Jane was a prodigy who had started college at age 14 and had her Ph.D. by 20. A sad and lonely girl, she’d stood out for her geekiness and doesn’t want that for her own child. She makes the mistake of believing Cal is a dumb jock.
When Cal finds out about Jane’s deception, he’s livid. To avert a scandal, he insists on marrying her because he doesn’t want his child to be a “stray.” Jane’s pregnancy acts as a catalyst in this story. While the baby brings them together, whether they can stay that way is in doubt. The author’s characteristic humor lightens the serious issues of the story, and in the end Jane falls hard for Cal, who eventually realizes he loves her.
I have a soft spot for Mary Balogh’s books. Simply Perfect was one of the first Regency romances I read. It’s the story of the redoubtable Claudia Martin, head mistress of a girls’ school, and Joseph, Marquess of Attingsborough. The secret baby belongs to him rather than to Claudia, which makes the story somewhat unique. Joseph is forced to keep his daughter a secret from all but a few people because of his position. His daughter is blind, and he’s very protective of her. Sadly, Joseph is betrothed to a cold society lady who would never accept his child.
Driven to succeed in her work, Claudia makes her own way in the world and has a great deal of contempt for the ton. Joseph, having met her while searching for a school for his daughter, begins to depend on her counsel. Drawn to the girl, Claudia invents ways to help her. The three spend so much time together, Joseph often views them as a “family.” In this story, the “secret baby” is central to the romance. Joseph’s attraction to Claudia is strengthened because of her wisdom and kindness in dealing with Lizzie. And Claudia in turn loves and admires Joseph because of his devotion to his daughter.
Of course, there are dozens of “secret baby” romances. These three are among my favorites, and I hope you will add them, and A Lady’s Deception, to your TBR pile.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE BOOK
Mr. Hugh Grey and Miss Eleanor Broxton share a scintillating liaison the night before he leaves for war in Canada. The memory sustained him for the years he was away. Now, the reputed rake is back, knighted, and he’s got enough money to right the estate his father left in ruins. What would make Sir Hugh Grey’s world perfect is the lovely Eleanor by his side.
Their attraction is sizzling, and the sweet way Hugh is wooing her—a kitten, kisses in the moonlight, and expert help in lighting her dreary work space—makes Eleanor dream of forever with her strapping knight. But she will not risk a scandal, which could ruin his newfound respectability and esteem, especially in her father’s eyes. When Hugh discovers what she’s been hiding, it could drive them apart forever.