Apr 6 2014 3:30pm

This Secret Baby Trope is Simply Irresistible

“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

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Miss Bates
1. Miss Bates
A recent, marvelous read has a wonderfully rendered secret-baby-trope treatment, Rula Sinara's THE PROMISE OF RAIN.
2. carmenlire
I love Rachel Gibson! She's definitely a favorite author for me and although I loathe the Secret Baby trope, there are one or two books that I like that include this theme. Gibson's book is one of them!
Lee Brewer
3. LeeB.
I don't like the secret baby storyline because I think in real life, there would be a lot more lawsuits. But I did like Simply Irresistible.
Miss Bates
4. Scarlettleigh
@Miss Bates - I will have to check out The Promise of Rain -- beautiful title!
@carmenlire- I enjoy Rachel Gibson's books too -- some more than others but I still can remember the magic I felt after reading Simply Irresistible
@LeeB lol on the lawsuits! I think you are right. Babies are expensive and it is difficult to raise one on your own.
Maggie Boyd
5. maggieboyd66
I'm a fan of this particular book. Simply Irresistible and Nobody's Baby but Mine are the only two secret baby books I love.
Miss Bates
6. Torifl
I'm not a fan of the secret baby trope for the reasons mentioned above but some authors can pull it off. Gibson is one of them.

Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin pulls off this trope in a believable manner though there is a substitiute father figure.
Miss Bates
7. Irisheyes
I'm not a big fan of the secret baby trope, but I absolutely love SIMPLEY IRRESISTIBLE! I'm with you on all the reasons, too. He was a complete jerk to her and there is no reason she would think he would want anything to do with a child she had. When they meet up years later he's changed and so has she. Lexi and John together are also adorable. That pet shop scene is hilarious! Sometimes I just grab the book and re-read that whole scene with the dog.
Jessica Moro
8. JessicaMoro
I'm a huge fan of the secret pregnancy troupe for all the reasons you listed. Simply Irresistible is one of my favorites! Toni Aleo, A.L Jackson, Tara Sivec all have books in this category. Some are serious and some are hilarous.Until Lilly by Aurora Rose Reynolds is also a good one. My favorite part of all of these books is how funny and adorable the children are. I'm always looking for new books thanks!
9. PoppyReadsRomance
This is one of my favorite tropes! I've read a few of Rachel Gibson's Chinook books, but not Simply Irresistible... Can't believe I missed it, so will one-click that today. Previously mentioned by others are Until Lilly and Nobody's Baby but Mine. I'd like to add one of Kristen Ashley's earlier works to that list: Three Wishes (soon to become a Passionflix movie!). Also one that doesn't quite fit the trope as it's got a twist -- can't tell you what it is because of spoilers -- but if you love moving stories, check out Katherine Allred's The Sweet Gum Tree (don't let the cover put you off).
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