Life is, if not perfect, then pretty close to it for ex-pat Anna Harding. She has a posh home in a swish London suburb with her gorgeous TV presenter boyfriend, Finn, and fur-baby pooch Nui.
Her job as a salacious celebrity gossip reporter for London’s notorious Mirror isn’t quite how she saw her journalistic career developing when she left Australia, and the other fly in her ointment is her grumpy neighbour. Luke, aka “the Parcel Nazi”, resents the constant stream of misdirected online purchases forever delivered to his door instead of Anna’s. But, overall, Anna is happy. She loves Finn and Nui, and for Anna, fur-babies are as close to motherhood as she intends to get. Ever.
Then her best friend Helena announces she’s pregnant.
Single, jobless Helena is a perpetual train wreck so Anna isn’t entirely surprised when Helena arrives from Australia with six-month-old Ivy and begs Anna to look after her. While Helena disappears to the wilds of Scotland to recover from postnatal depression, Anna is left literally holding the baby. Things only get worse when Finn accepts a job on breakfast TV—in Belfast! Alone and clueless about kids (no, six month-olds don’t eat chicken tikka!) she turns to unlikely ally and source of support, Luke.
Be My Baby is a return to quality women’s fiction, reminiscent of Marian Keys and Monica McInerney. It seems this genre – stories featuring strong female characters, relationship and career issues and, yes, even romance – is making a comeback. And about bloody time! The over production of “chick lit” in the 90s and noughties led to a virtual ban, with such stories relegated to the eBook shelf.
Be My Baby was, in fact, first published as an eBook in 2014 and, following the success of Ms Greave’s non-fiction books about dogs, has been re-released in paperback. The paperback edition is highly deserved. This is a fun book that achieves the simultaneous and difficult tasks of being both entertaining and emotionally moving. The characters all have unique voices and present as three-dimensional personas with believable problems that elicit reader empathy. What I liked most about Be My Baby was that, while it had plenty of romance, it contained no Disney Princess Rescue Syndrome endings.
If you like your romance packed with reality, strength, and just enough old school magic, go read Be My Baby. And for fans who’ve already snapped this up, you can look forward to Ms Greaves soon-to-be-released Rural Romance, Two Weeks to Christmas.
Reviewed by Stacey Carvosso
Rating out of 10:10
Distributed by: Penguin Australia
Re-release Date: May 2017
RRP: $32.99 trade paperback, $4.99 eBook