Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Category from Way Back When

Sonia hopes y’all can help her find the first romance she ever read:

I live in London, England and have recently found your website due to my desire to find the first romance book I read, at the not so young age of 14 or 15!

Unfortunately I cannot remember the title (pain in the neck, I know) but do know that it was a Silhouette (I think it was a Silhouette Romance but can’t be 100 per cent certain) and I read it in either 1984 or 1985.  The cover of the book is violet in colour.

The story is a bit hazy in my mind but here are the details that I can remember:

A woman called Diana is raising a child as her own but it’s actually her sister’s child. The sister, Deana, passed away during child birth.  Deana became pregnant for a wealthy married man whom she genuinely loved and who loved her.  He had told her that he would divorce his wife and marry her.  However before he could do so he died (I think it was a car accident) and with both of the parents dead Diana is left to bring up her sister’s illegitimate child.

Diana makes contact with Caleb Buchanan, the brother of the wealthy married man (or he finds her), and Caleb refuses to give her money to assist with the child and refuses to let her keep the child.  Caleb tells Diana she has two choices: to either hand the child over to him as he is far better placed than she is to raise the child (due to his affluence and prominence as a businessman within the society of the State in which they live), or marry him to ensure that she is not parted from the child.  Diana is all too well aware of the financial limitations of her own circumstances and reluctantly concedes to marrying Caleb despite the fact that he judges her as a home-wrecker and a slut for sleeping with a married man (ie his brother, now deceased).  Caleb’s family is surprised at what appears to be a ‘shot gun’ wedding with a beautiful woman they don’t know whose countenance and manner of dressing leads them to believe that Diana is unaccustomed to wealth and polite society.

Diana is taken to live in a mansion with Caleb, his dead brother’s wife and other family members (it’s a bit like the Southfork Ranch in the 80s soap, Dallas), many servants, etc.  Diana spends her days raising and caring for the child; she does not need to work as money is no object and Caleb provides her with a monthly allowance.  Unknown to any of Caleb’s family, servants etc the marriage is in name only as despite their begrudging mutual attraction, Caleb cannot get over that Diana slept with a married man, and so Caleb and Diana do not consummate their marriage. What Caleb does not know (or find out until much later in the book) is that Diana is the child’s aunt (not mother) and is in fact a virgin!

The majority of the book is about the relationship between Diana and Caleb, the growth of their attraction, his desire for her which he holds in check as he does not trust her, his begrudging acknowledgement that she is a good ‘mother’, her fear that he’ll find out that she is not the child’s mother and then make her leave, her realisation that she is falling in love with him but does not want to live in a marriage that is a sham etc etc, plus the interference of Caleb’s sister-in-law who feels Diana is an inappropriate wife for Caleb from the wrong side of the tracks but more importantly that SHE (the sister-in-law) is better suited as a wife for Caleb….and so she seeks to break them up.  Of course, that doesn’t happen and they fall in love…ahhh. 

I’d like to find the title of this book and the name of the author if possible.  I can then go about finding a copy of the book over the internet so that I have it to keep for always!

VIRGIN ALERT! Somewhat secret baby? And SURPRISE Not the Mommy! Anyone remember this one?

New HaBO Rules: if you are the person who sent in the request, and you think it’s been solved correctly, please email me and let me know – like they say in the airport: many romances look alike. Please be sure that the romance you claim is your own! Thanks!


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  1. 1
    Kay Webb Harrison says:

    I looked this up on Fiction DataBase. The book is Man of Velvet by Dana Terrill. Sounds like one I would enjoy! Here is the link, so that you can read it yourself:

    Regards, Kay

  2. 2
    Gwynnyd says:

    Oh, oh – am I first?

    Man of Velvet by Dana Terrill


    Her name was Diana. But Caleb Buchanan mockingly called her the Goddess of the Hunt, and thought his brother Barrett was her fallen prey. With a bitterness belied by his velvet-smooth eyes, he blamed Diana for Barrett’s early death. Only one feeling outweighed his hatred for her—his concern for Barrett’s son. To insure the child’s birthright, he forced Diana into a loveless marriage.

    She couldn’t imagine anything worse…until she found herself falling in love with her new husband, a man bent on avenging a crime of passion she hadn’t committed….

  3. 3
    Gwynnyd says:

    Drat… misssed it by “that” much.

  4. 4
    Sonia says:

    Dear Kay, Gwynnyd!

    That’s the one!  A thousand thank yous!!!!!

    I can’t believe how quickly you’ve come up with the name and I’ve been racking my brains and searching on the internet for weeks to no avail!  I am going to tell my friend about this site as she has been an avid Harlequin, Silhouette, Blaze reader for years and there are MANY for which she can’t remember the titles.

    In the meantime, a big thanks to you Sarah for posting my email.

    I’m off to find a copy here in the UK….

    Best wishes,

  5. 5
    Veyton says:

    it seems to be a book like : Man of Velvet , read it and you will be impressed.

  6. 6
    Lisa richards says:


    If you are unable to get a copy, they do have it at PaperBackSwap.
    I would be glad to get it for you.

    Lisa Richards
    alterlisa @

  7. 7
    Sonia says:


    Thanks very much for your kind offer of help! 

    I have found a few used copies over here and have purchased one which hopefully will arrive in a few days…:-) (there aren’t that many in the UK, certainly not as many as I found online in the USA) I can’t wait for it to arrive; it is truly a great book!

    As an aside, can you believe there are 2 people on the internet selling ‘brand new’ copies for nearly $50!  What’s the likelihood of them really being new?  I don’t know about in the States but in the UK the book is not even being published anymore….

    Thanks once again, and if you ever need anything from the UK do please let me know….‘One good turn deserves another’ and all that!

    Have a good weekend everyone!


  8. 8
    Lisa richards says:


    Glad you were able to find a copy. “Brand new”, not likely.  Enjoy your weekend.


  9. 9
    Kay Webb Harrison says:


    Glad I could help out. I mooched a copy from BookMooch yesterday.

    Fiction DataBase is fabulous! Having the hero’s full name was probably what made the search so rapid.

    I have ordered used books from sellers listed on and have been amazed at the like new condition of some of them.


  10. 10
    Sonia says:

    Hi Kay,

    I have had a look at Fiction Database – it’s fabulous so I have recommended it to my friend who has been an avid romance novel reader since her early teens…she too can use that to find titles she has forgotten. 

    I did find a copy of Man of Velvet on but found another copy for the same price (£1.25) with cheaper shipping costs so went with that one instead.  Still it is good to know that Abebooks has stock in good condition.

    Here’s hoping my book arrives either later today or tomorrow!

    I can’t get over how helpful everyone on this website has been. 

    Thanks ever so much, Kay for your help once again!

    Kindest regards

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