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REVIEW: The Heir from Nowhere by Trish Morey and The Secret...

The following are two secret baby stories but very differently portrayed. In Morey’s story, the pregnancy arises out of a botched fertility experiment and in the Grey story, amnesia leading to a lost father.  I am always terribly amused when HP authors manage to bring in more than one romance trope to their stories.  Secret baby and amnesia? It deserves a positive grade just for that.

The Heir from Nowhere by Trish MoreyThe Heir from Nowhere by Trish Morey.  There are two problems with the story for me, the first being believability. Oh, I know that seems like a crazy accusation to level against an HP, a series that pretty much thrives on the fantastical more than even paranormals but in bringing together two disparate individuals, the circumstances of their connection needs to be authentic.  Angie Cameron was mistakenly impregnated with the fertilized egg belonging to the wife of Dominic Pirelli.  The results of the mistake are found 12 weeks later and Angie contacts Dominic to tell him the news.

Angie becoming pregnant with Pirelli’s child in the first place seemed impossible.  The clinic that Dominic used was so expensive and so exclusive that Angie shouldn’t have even got through the door let alone be allowed fertility treatments.  This was even more baffling because Angie’s husband didn’t want her to go through with the treatments so why would he “scrape together the money for the procedures” and then “cancel a holiday” and get “a subsidised place in the Carmichael Clinic.”  Angie’s supposedly despised husband’s actions didn’t match up with what we needed to believe about him – that he was an emotionally cruel man who left Angie with nothing.  To make Angie seem even more desperate, Angie’s husband left her for a teenage girl and took the car and all of the furniture except a couple of chairs.  Angie is living in her house with mounting bills, no food, no furniture, and “thin” ragged clothes.  It’s like a Dickens book, only not.  How could they have afforded any fertility payments if they were one step away from true poverty?

Angie was left so destitute that it was a miracle she wasn’t homeless in the streets. At least, that is the picture that is portrayed.   She was described as thin, waiflike; a “ragged urchin” with an “unkempt ponytail.”  The imbalanced power dynamic was troubling. I kept wondering why Angie had to be made so down in the mouth, so virtually incapable of taking care of herself in order to make the romance work.  Ultimately, it was Angie’s weakness that really led to my dislike of the book. I know I was supposed to see Angie as this internally strong woman, refusing to have an abortion, carrying on like a martyr, but I kept thinking that maybe if she got a job and a little public assistance she wouldn’t be the lonely street urchin just waiting for the rich man to sweep her up into his arms.  Good thing that she is a presents heroine, though, because Dominic takes her away and solves all her problems. Yay!

I know I’ve enjoyed Morey stories in the past, but the extreme self pity Angie presents was too much for me to take.  D

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*****

The Secret She Can't Hide by India GreyThe Secret She Can’t Hide by India Grey. Kate Edwards was sent to interview Grand Prix race car driver, Cristiano Maresca, and instead ended up in bed with him, in love with him, and impregnated by him. Only Cristiano was involved in a terrible racing accident after they met and lost his memory.  His handlers, a jealous woman in particular, kept everyone at bay, even Kate.  Kate’s pregnancy and Cristiano’s  fatherhood was kept a secret from him.  Cristiano decides to return to racing four years later and Kate screws up the courage to tell Cristiano once more about the son that they made together.

Kate, unlike Angie, was not a martyr.  She had friends and was able to have her baby and take care of her son without the help of some Presents hero.  She even has a house and furniture!  But she does acknowledge that she should make one more attempt to bring Cristiano the news he has refused to hear previously. There was a good enough explanation for me on both sides as to why Cristiano was still unaware of his son’s existence.

What I liked was that Cristiano, upon seeing Kate again and still suffering from memory loss, is attracted to her again.  Whatever connection Kate and Cristiano had four years ago wasn’t fleeting.  The amnesia of Cristiano’s is used to affect the right amount of agnst. Oh, the pain that Kate feels when Cristiano treats her like he has never seen her before is delicious. I ate it up with a spoon (I know this sounds macabre but this agnst is exactly the reason I read HPs).  What was surprising was the direction the story took. It many ways it was unpredictable even though it incorporated many of the HP mainstays – the secret baby, the amnesia, the marriage of convenience, misunderstandings.   I was always a little off balance in the story and I wasn’t sure whether I liked that. In some sense, I felt like I wasn’t given the time to absorb the characters’ feelings about one issue and then the next. I wasn’t allowed to savor the moments. But I liked Kate and Cristiano who seemed like equals, maybe not in the pocketbook, but certainly in all other areas. B-

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

15 Comments

  1. Loosheesh
    May 21, 2011 @ 12:37:41

    “I know this sounds macabre but this agnst is exactly the reason I read HPs.”> Lol! Half the time these HPs get me so sick I wonder why I bother – then I remember it’s for my angst fix :D

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  2. FiaQ
    May 21, 2011 @ 12:39:33

    There are two problems with the story for me, the first being believability. Oh, I know that seems like a crazy accusation to level against an HP, a series that pretty much thrives on the fantastical more than even paranormals [...]

    This had me choking on my drink. So funny.

    Kate, unlike Angie, was not a martyr.

    That alone is enough for me to chuck a copy of India Grey’s book into my shopping basket.

    Thanks.

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  3. Ros
    May 21, 2011 @ 13:10:31

    I really enjoyed India’s book too (in the UK it’s called Her Last Night of Innocence). Like you, I liked the way that Cristiano was attracted to Kate even when he didn’t remember her. I also really liked the way that their first night was so clearly shown to have been more than just a one night stand for both of them. I wasn’t completely convinced by dyslexia being used as such a source of angst for Cristiano, but I was prepared to let that go for the sake of the rest of the story.

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  4. Jennifield
    May 21, 2011 @ 14:35:37

    I love India Grey and one of the reasons I will always give her a go is that I think she does the angst thing so beautifully. And, yes, my heart definitely got that thumpy-achy feeling when Kate felt she was being dually rejected! I also think Grey does a fine job of taking the way-out tropes found in HP and treating them in a way that’s somehow quite realistic. Both characters’ interactions with their child in this particular story is an example of this. Her writing is often lovely and evocative–with a kind of sensitivity I don’t often find in series romance. I liked that the story was a little unpredictable and I turned page after delicious page until it was woefully over. Just wish all Presents would deliver this same level of tastiness!

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  5. RebeccaJ
    May 21, 2011 @ 20:19:44

    “I kept thinking that maybe if she got a job and a little public assistance she wouldn’t be the lonely street urchin just waiting for the rich man to sweep her up into her arms.”

    LOL! I love that, Jane.

    I get P.O.’ed when authors use the “poor poor pitiful me” chicks in their books. I always end up yelling, “Get a backbone!” before I toss the book against the wall;)

    I would have to think though that my main thought would be “what in the world is she doing TRYING to get pregnant when she has no visible means of support in the first place?” The author didn’t seem to have a clear grasp on either the wife or the ex.

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  6. SN
    May 21, 2011 @ 21:49:20

    Your first Harlequin link is for a different book.

    So, the first book has the evil husband who doesn’t want children? Sigh. When are romance authors going to catch onto the fact many normal, sane people don’t want children? I’m so sick of that – all the baddies in Virgin River, for example, dislike children – anybody who doesn’t want kids is a murderer or a con artist, or both. Maybe one day we’ll reach the 20th century in romance. Then maybe we’ll make it to the 21st.

    The second book is about a Formula One racer? Is that what you mean by ‘Grand Prix’? A HP hero who is a star of the most watched sport in the world?! No way could I read a HP about Formula One. I’m so caught up in that sport; it’s sheer craziness to see the drivers that way!

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  7. Jane
    May 21, 2011 @ 21:53:18

    @FiaQ: I think you will like this book. The heroine is pretty level headed. Of course, I did recommend Twilight to you.

    @Ros: I was pretty confused by Cristiano’s guilt and self disgust, particularly vis a vis his mother.

    @Jennifield: I’ve warmed up to Grey. Her first couple of books didn’t work for me but I’ve found her and Caitlin Crews to be my go to HP authors (along with Helen Bianchin, Helen Brooks, Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister and others).

    @RebeccaJ: Yes, I just didn’t get how she could go from getting fertility treatments to having absolutely nothing. It was like she couldn’t even afford heat for her water to make tea.

    @SN: I’m not familiar with it, but he was driving in the Monaco Grand Prix. Is that formula 1?

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  8. Niveau
    May 21, 2011 @ 22:17:08

    @SN: I so totally second the not-wanting-kids thing. It’s part of why I love Bet Me so much. People who don’t want kids and actually get to star in a romance, who are not evil? Way too scarce. I want more of them.

    Speaking of reaching the 20th century, I would so totally love it if a heroine – any heroine in any line from any publisher – actually considered getting an abortion. Even if she didn’t actually get it. I’m sick of the way that every single romance involving pregnancy is full of characters who’d never even consider such a thing!, even if they’re not in a position to support a child, and having said child would make their position worse; of accidentally pregnant heroines who, when the hero asks them if they’d considered getting one, react as if they’d never been so insulted in their lives. Nor am I particularly fond of those heroes, either, since they always seem to see this as proof that the heroine isn’t an evil, conniving whore. I hate the underlying assumption – that abortion is evil, period, and anyone who feels differently, or even less strongly, is lacking in morals, as opposed to simply having a different opinion.

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  9. willaful
    May 21, 2011 @ 23:01:09

    The amnesia and second baby tropes are made for each other! Forgotten Fiance by Lucy Gordon is a favorite.

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  10. Julie
    May 22, 2011 @ 03:34:36

    I’ve never read Trish Morey before, but I love India Grey. All of her books are absolutely brilliant – my favourites are Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire’s Pleasure and Taken for Revenge, Bedded for Pleasure. As Jennifield said, I love how she takes the most ordinary category romance tropes and makes them fresh, exciting and her own. I’ve this book in my reading pile and I can’t wait to read it.

    I read a very good Presents out this month – Melanie Milburne’s The Unclaimed Baby. It’s a secret baby story, but it’s got a great hero and a lovely heroine. I’ve really enjoyed it.

    As for abortion in romances, one of my all-time favourite books ever is a Medical Romance by Maggie Kingsley – A Baby For Eve, part of the Penhally Bay series, which is absolutely fantastic. The heroine had an abortion after the hero had deserted her. I also read a Harlequin Romance by Michelle Douglas called The Cattleman, The Baby and Me which was a very emotional read that also included an abortion.

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  11. lupula
    May 23, 2011 @ 08:45:42

    Series romances with the abortion theme seem to be written mostly by Mills & Boon authors that is European authors. I think this theme is handled more freely in Europe than in the US. One of my all time favourite romances is a medical romance by Jennifer Taylor. The heroine is a highly successful surgeon and she seriously considers abortion after having an “affair” with a collegue seven years younger than her. She doesn’t go through with it but her conflicting emotions are portrayed very well and without any judgement on either way she will proceed.

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  12. Barbara
    May 23, 2011 @ 12:14:05

    I’m likely going to regret even asking, but in the Morey book, the woeful doormat becomes impregnated with the fertilized egg of Pirelli’s wife? Or her egg was fertilized by his swimmers? What happened to Pirelli’s wife?

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  13. Jane
    May 23, 2011 @ 12:17:58

    @Barbara: Yes, the doormat becomes fertilized with the egg of Pirelli’s wife. I believe (and it’s been a month or so since I read this) that Pirelli’s wife struggled with depression and ultimately killed herself.

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  14. MaryK
    May 25, 2011 @ 23:08:21

    I’ve been waiting for this India Grey since I saw her tweet about writing a racing hero. I just pre-ordered it for Kindle.

    Space issues are finally affecting me so I’ve resolved to buy category romance as ebooks from now on. Except for old used ones; I can’t resist those.

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  15. Every Sperm is Sacred? Reproduction in Romance | Something More
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 22:29:32

    [...] and relatively positive review of this one are not to be missed). Or the fertility clinic screws up, leaving the heroine accidentally pregnant with the hero’s baby (good thing he’s [...]

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