“He wanted the word “Daddy” added to his list of names. He wanted to teach his son to skate, just as he'd been taught by Ernie. Like every other father in the world, he wanted to stay up late on Christmas Eve and put together tricycles, bicycles, and race-car sets. He wanted to dress up his son as a vampire, or a pirate, and take him trick-or-treating.”
Some tropes are polarizing among romance readers, and the secret baby trope might be the most divisive—readers either love secret babies or hate them. I'm in the loving side; maybe it's the realistic emotions like shock and anger that the hero feels upon discovering he has a child. Or the heroine's feeling of guilt and regret? Still, the secret baby books that I love are few and far between because they are not easy to write. So what makes a perfect secret baby book? Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson set the benchmark for me as the perfect one. Here is why:
1. The heroine has an acceptable reason for not telling the hero about her pregnancy. Usually I have issues with the heroine not telling the hero that he is going to be a father, but John Kowalssky treated Georgeanne so coldly it is easy to give her a pass. Sure, he never planned on getting involved with her, and she was his boss’s fiancée—a definite career killer. Plus, she did have relationship written all over her, but then he knew that before he slept with her.
2. The time frame of the story works. Call it personal preference, but it is just too melancholy when a father and child are re-united after his child is half grown or almost an adult. In Simply Irresistible, Lexie is six years old. Of course she is past early childhood development, but John still has the opportunity of being an actual parent.
3. John is in the right place to become a parent. He has been thinking of settling down.
4. There is no other father figure. Many books have the heroine marry another person to give her child security and a father. When this happens, I am definitely on the hero’s side, completely agreeing that the heroine stole those years from him. If she thought the child needed a father, then she should have told the biological one and given him a chance to step up to the plate.
5. The book is funny and it makes me laugh. The little girl, Lexi, is adorable with her make-up, and outlandish outfits.
6. John and Georgeanne have great chemistry!
Are you a fan of secret baby books? If so, what items make this trope work for you? What is your favorite secret baby book?
Leigh Davis, blogger