GS vs. STA: Secret Baby Romances

Kathryn wrote in with a very simple query:

Are there any good secret baby books out there?

I was bouncing around listopia on goodreads. They have lists for everything: best gay cowboys,
best friends-into-lovers, best use of glass dildoes (okay maybe not the last
one, though there are sex toy ones). Despite the variety, there are no
romance novels with secret baby lists, or romance novels with any baby
lists. So I put to you – food for thought – are there any GOOD secret baby
romance novels out there?

This is a good question! I’m usually baffled by Secret Baby romances – HOW and WHY do you keep them a secret, for heaven’s sake? Mostly HOW—babies are LOUD!

The few I have tried have been rather contrived, or surprisingly fun and awesome. Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger is something of a secret baby romance – it plays with the trope, for sure. And RT has a list of them, too, that they recommend.

But since the Bitchery pretty much knows damn near everything, I figured you could help Kathryn out: which Secret Baby romance is the Bestest One?


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ducky says:

    I rather liked The Forest Lord, by Susan Krinard. The secret baby in that one manages to be a secret from both parents, but it makes sense (mostly) because hey, supernatural beings and conspiracies here. Dinah McCall’s Tallchief was also a favorite of mine back in high school, though looking at it now I have to question the idea that the witness protection program was such an uprooting force in their lives when it worked just fine for 16 years.

  2. 2
    Sycorax says:

    The problem is that the secret baby is often a plot twist you find out half way through. So recommendations feel a bit spoilerish. Anyhow…

    Then Came You – Lisa Kleypas
    His Captive Lady – Anne Gracie
    Not Quite a Lady - Loretta Chase

    I especially enjoyed the last.

  3. 3
    Cät von J says:

    Suzanne Brockmanns Everyday, Average Jones from the TDD series.

    Daddy wonders why Mommy is not answering his calls, after he saved her life, followed by ONE HELL OF A WEEK in a hotel room :)
    He can´t forget her so naturally he travels half the country to see her. And whooooopppps is that a babybump?? And she´s all “no I don´t need a baby-daddy you´ve done all that was necessary thanks bye” but he´s a SEAL so he won´t give up…HAPPY END

  4. 4
    Caroline says:

    This one’s a little out of left field, because it’s a romance only in the ancient sense of the word, but ‘secret baby’ made me think of Lyonesse: Suldrun’s Garden, the first book in the Lyonesse fantasy trilogy by Jack Vance. 

    Lyonesse is a huge, gorgeously written fantasy world, and in the first book, princess Suldrun is cast out by her father because she doesn’t want to marry any of the fatuous or creepy princes who ask for her hand, and she ends up on a lonely beach as a prisoner.

    She doesn’t see anyone except the old nurse who brings her her food, so nobody suspects that she could be pregnant. But she is—because a handsome stranger washes up on the beach, and one thing leads to another.

  5. 5
    LimeyTart says:

    I really enjoyed Once a Mistrress by Rebecca Hagan Lee. It found it’s way into my “reread a hundred times” pile.

  6. 6
    Mendie says:

    A couple that come to mind are from 2 of my favorite authors:

    Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson
    Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    The latter is not my favorite by the author but still good.  The one by Rachel Gibson is what got me to love her and all of her books.

  7. 7
    Lisa J says:

    I’m not sure if this one counts, but I would like to throw Prince Charming by Julie Garwood in the mix.

    I love the twins, they crack me up.

  8. 8
    Shannon says:

    I like The Sister Swap by Susan Napier, which isn’t really about swapping, and the secret thing isn’t cringe-worthy. But then I love SN.

  9. 9
    Nicole says:

    Local Custom, which is Space Opera with a large helping of Romance.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s entire Liaden series is great, if not traditional romance novels.

  10. 10
    Sarah says:

    My favorites are Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught and Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts.  Both are contemps with some suspense elements.

  11. 11
    Rose says:

    Karen Ranney’s So In Love, in which the hero knows and the heroine doesn’t. It’s a bit slow-paced, but overall I thought it was pretty good.

  12. 12
    Stacy Perry says:

    Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman. It’s really wonderful, but you might have a tough time finding a copy.

  13. 13
    Kathleen O says:

    Oh Fancy Pants for sure was a good one..
    Off the top of my head I can’t think of any, but I am sure they will come to me later on in the week…

  14. 14
    Katie D. says:

    I liked Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child which was not quite secret baby as the mom tried very hard to tell the dad, but he was sure as hell surprised when he finally found out.

  15. 15
    FD says:


    Local Custom, which is Space Opera with a large helping of Romance.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s entire Liaden series is great, if not traditional romance novels.

    Ha! I never thought about it before, but you’re right – that absolutely does fit the trope, and it is (as pretty much everything is by them) an excellent book.

    Shannon recommended Susan Napier – I’d second that and she also plays with the trope in ‘Reckless Conduct’ and ‘Just Once’.

  16. 16
    cleo says:

    I was also going to say Fancy Pants – like a lot of SEP books, it seems to be polarizing, some people love, some hate it.  But the secret baby part does actually kind of make sense – she doesn’t keep the baby a secret, just the identity of the father and you can kind of understand why.  The later scenes where the dad/hero gets to know his no-longer secret child get me every time.

    I liked Not Quite a Lady too, although it’s not my favorite by Chase. 

    I can think of a few historicals with a variation on the secret baby – the (usually known but conveniently forgotten about) illegitimate child who suddenly reappears needing their father’s care.  The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice, Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh (think that’s the right one in the simply series) and A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James, which features not one, not two, but six illegitimate children who need a mother.  The children are not exactly a secret in ADoHO – they show up earlier in the Desperate Duchesses series.

  17. 17
    Catherine says:

    For me is a “Not quiet a lady” I forgot the author but I like it. You know I am a child book type of person and only few “grown up” books catch my attention.:)

  18. 18
    Lara says:

    Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn has a secret baby in addition to massive amounts of ancient Roman historical drama. It’s not technically a romance, but the romantic subplot between Thea and Arius continues throughout the book, and I really enjoyed it.

  19. 19
    Kirsten says:

    Don’t have the book on me, but… What the Librarian Did has a secret baby.

    I’m a sucker for romances with librarians in them.

  20. 20
    Lauren says:

    There’s a secret baby trilogy by Celeste Bradley:  Devil in my Bed, Rogue in my Arms, Scoundrel in my Dreams. 

    A child is deposited at a gentlemen’s club and three men have to figure out which of them is the father.  They each go back to find a woman they were with four years earlier to see if she secretly had a baby.  Of course, they all fall in love with the little girl and want to be the father.  Hmm, now it sounds like historical Three Men and a Baby.

  21. 21
    Molly says:

    Not sure what the general consensus on Elizabeth Rolls is around here, but her “A Compromised Lady” is one I really enjoyed…mostly because Richard Blakehurst is one of her few heroes who doesn’t spend the majority of the book acting like a huge asshat.  And yes, secret baby. :)

  22. 22
    cleo says:

    This reminds me – I recently read through a secret baby contemporary at the library.  Sadly I don’t remember the author or title, but the plot was memorable.  A single mother is in a coma after a car accident.  Her son (8? 10?) overhears a neighbor worrying that he’ll be put in foster care because there’s no other family and no one knows who his father is.  He’s all freaked out and an older neighbor kid helps him make a video looking for his dad, posts it to youtube, and it goes viral (of course).  His dad, who didn’t know he was a dad, shows up, his mom wakes up from her coma, and they all live happily ever after.  It was a little too tear jearky for my taste, which is probably why I forgot the title and author.

  23. 23
    Rose says:

    I just remembered another one: Liz Carlyle’s Sins, Lies and Secrets revolved around secret babies. Two Little Lies is the best of them.

  24. 24
    cleo says:

    Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton – the heroine IS the secret baby.  Her mother told her that her father was a sperm donor, but it turns out her father is a rock star who wants to know his grown daughter.  I liked this one – the heroine is older and a single mom herself and the hero is the rock star’s lawyer.

  25. 25
    TaraL says:

    I’ll second the rec for Rachel Gibson’s Simply Irresistible. I also liked Underfoot by Leanne Banks. That’s the second in a series but it reads just fine as a standalone. I also like Sweet Trouble by Susan Mallery. That’s the third of a series and would probably be better if the three were read in order.

  26. 26
    Celine says:

    I’d say Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson. I normally hate the secret baby premise but this one worked for me. I felt like the reasons she made for keeping the baby secret from his father was actually plausible.

  27. 27
    Nadia says:

    Normally, I’m not high on the secret baby plot because of too much selfish and stupid going on.  But every now and then it’s plausible that baby daddy isn’t in the know.  If this plot floats your boat and you like romantic suspense, Roxanne St. Claire’s got one in the Bullet Catchers series, “Hunt Her Down.”  It can stand alone, but earlier books in the series do feature the hero as secondary and give you understanding of where he’s at as the book begins. 

    How about secret adult, LOL?  Anne Stuart wrote two categories called “Catspaw” and “Catspaw II” about a cat burglar that are quite entertaining, then came back later with a novella in “Night and Day” for Harlequin Intrigue about an adult son the Catspaw hero never knew he had.

  28. 28
    MariDonne says:

    Another book in which the heroine is the secret baby is “Stranger at Wildings” (AKA “Kirkby’s Changling”) by Madeleine Brent. The heroine runs off to the join the circus (no, really), where the hero shows up with amnesia (no, REALLY). Then she finds out who SHE really is, which leads to even more intrigue, with deadly secrets and the occasional long-lost relative being revealed along the way.

    Brent was actually Peter O’Donnell, who created the Modesty Blaise novel and comics heroine. Madeleine Brent heroines are strong-willed and almost pathologically determined, their pasts are traumatic, their circumstances are melodramatic in the extreme, and the Brent heroes adore them for it. I collected most of these in used copies back in the 80s and 90s, and I just discovered from a glance at Amazon that I have quite a chunk of change sitting on that dusty bookshelf downstairs, if I cared to sell them. instead, I think I’ll reread them.

  29. 29
    Guest says:

    For any Lynne Graham fans I would recommend “Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife” in the Harlequin Presents Series

  30. 30
    Tabs says:

    “Tied Up, Tied Down” by Lorelei James is probably the best “secret baby” book I’ve ever read.  The heroine didn’t intend to keep the baby a secret but was unable to contact the father directly after he retreats to an isolated portion of his family ranch.  As soon as he returns, he finds out (by getting slapped upside the head by his irate mother) and immediatley becomes as involved a parent as possible. 

    It’s awesome.

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