Baby Love by Binnie Syril

baby loveTitle: Baby Love

Author: Binnie Syril

Mills & Boon imprint: Temptation

Year of publication: 1991

The heroine: Woodworker Elizabeth Chapman

The hero: Computer consultant Travis Logan

The blurb: Elizabeth Chapman had never planned on becoming a parent. She’d just agreed to be a surrogate mother for her two best friends. Losing them in a tragic accident meant she now had the overwhelming responsibility of the child’s future. And no one to help her. Until Travis Logan put in a claim for adoption…

As the baby’s uncle, Travis was determined to prove he made good father material. And Elizabeth quickly found in him the strong, caring presence she’d always longer for. She needed a family, too. Then she found out, too late, he’d only wooed her to secure his claim to Ritchie…

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: I have a confession to make – when I was younger, I used to read Harlequin Temptation books by the dozen. My local second hand bookstore sold them in bundles and I would regularly buy them. I loved them.

This book is almost thirty years old, so I’m prepared to give it some leeway. It has aged rather well, all things considered; I chuckled when Elizabeth was thankful there was no such thing as a “video phone call” (how would she cope with Skype, one can only wonder?).

Elizabeth is twenty nine years old and acting as a surrogate for Rick and Kathy Logan. Three weeks before she’s due to give birth to their son, they’re on holiday in NYC and are killed in a car accident. When Elizabeth shows up at their house to welcome them back from their trip, she finds Travis Logan, Rick’s younger brother, at the house. He has the unfortunate task of telling Elizabeth about the accident, since she doesn’t know, and the shock of it sends her into labour.

Elizabeth then has to decide whether to give the baby, whom she names Ritchie after his father, up for adoption or keep him. She’s leaning towards the former until Travis begs her to keep the baby until he can go for adoption. While he and Rick weren’t terribly close, due to their age difference and Travis’s job taking him on the road a lot, he hates the idea of strangers raising his nephew.

I found the character of Elizabeth to be rather immature. I understand she was grieving the death of her close friends and found her life turned upside down when she suddenly has a child to raise, but Travis knocked himself out trying to help her. He told her he loved her but, due to a previous marriage in which her douchebag ex was obviously abusive, she has trouble believing him. The last line of the blurb is misleading – Travis wasn’t trying to win her over simply to get custody of the baby. Elizabeth realises that she’s in love with Travis, but loses her shit because someone suddenly turns up months later with details regarding the adoption – when the ball got rolling just after she gave birth. Nobody was told there was any change to it, but Elizabeth seems to blame Travis for it.

Travis proposes and buys a house for them to live in – the three of them – but when Elizabeth throws a tanty, he has his name taken off the title and walks away. I felt really sorry for him, because he’d tried really hard to do the right thing by Elizabeth and the baby, and she just reacted poorly.

In the end, she flies to Chicago, where he’s working, and tells him she loves him. He claims not to believe her, so she throws him onto the bed and has her wicked way to prove it. They get their happily ever after.

One expression that kept cropping up throughout the whole book were people ‘spelling’ Elizabeth; as in, “I’ll spell you so you can have a nap”. I understood what it meant, but I’ve never heard of it before!

I loved that Elizabeth had an unusual occupation as a woodworker. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, so I thought that was a nice touch.