Maybe Baby
by Elaine Fox, contemporary (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81783-7


I've read this author's historical romances before and I liked some of them. But Maybe Baby, her contemporary romance for Avon (her first ever?) is a disaster. It's as if the author, after being told by the editor that it's either contemporary romances or no book contract, has gone on a category romance binge for "primers". That act alone is not one I would deem wise, considering the current general quality of the category romance genre, but to actually bag up all the plot devices in there and dumping them nilly-willy into 370 pages of Maybe Baby?

Definitely crappy.

Where shall I start? A failed condom on a one-night stand? Delaney Poole and Jake Shepard did the deed and apparently a ladies' man like Jake can't even get the condom thing right. Sheesh. What happens? Baby nine months later - it's a girl, people. Emily's her name. Delaney, a doctor (really) disappears from town but one year later breezes back to Harp Cove with Emily.

Guess who owns the place she is staying at. That's right - Jake! And how about Emily? Of course Delaney won't tell him. She invents a fake hubby - Joe, maybe Jim, maybe Prozac - whom she tells everyone in town she is separated from. So Jack wouldn't make a move on her. Right? And she won't make the move on him. Right-o? Because Jack is a playboy and he is bad.

Thing is, Delaney is going to live in Harp Cove for three years. And she decides to lie even though she can't even keep her husband's name straight. And she keeps forgetting the details of her lies to tell a straight story. And she keeps screaming and worrying and screaming and hesitating and next thing you know, the social home is coming to drag Emily away to a more stable home. I'm kidding, unfortunately, about the social home thing. I'm not so against Delaney's deception of Jack, who for a playboy is inexplicably nice and sensitive, as I am against Delaney's unforgivable stupidity. Her inept lying, backpedalling, hesitating, worrying, and stumbling are enough to drive me to the toolshed to take up the electric chainsaw for an impromptu Massacre In Harp Cove stint.

Add in the usual kooky smalltown folks, the relentlessly unfunny and stupid screwball "OHMIGOD!" routines, the way Delaney becomes more and more psychotic with the turn of the pages, and I so want to slit my wrists open at the end of the day just to end it all.

Maybe Baby is definitely evil, with screwball disaster and dumb heroine at an uncontrollable rampage to kill and destroy. Proceed at your own risk.

Rating: 26


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