Review: “Child of Mine” by Karen Grey

Series: Boston Classics, #4

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: December 1st, 2021

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CW/TW: Character with a substance abuse past, anxiety and mentions of unsafe work environments

The bigger the secret, the harder it is to hide.

Single mom Isabella York was a celebrity before she had her first kiss, her first date, or her first sip of alcohol. Playing the bad girl—both on and off the set—made up for lost time, but the consequences were life-changing. Back home in Boston, with her “checkered past” behind her, all she wants is to raise her little girl far from the spotlight. After all, revealing her secrets could mean losing everything.

For her, and her daughter.

It’s not that Henry Smith hates kids—they don’t like him. Meanwhile, he’s stuck producing children’s TV, so he’s doing the best he can to be less of a grouch. Not everyone gets a second chance to chase his dream, and if he plays his cards right at this new gig, he can move on to making television that will change the world, not just entertain a bunch of brats.

Even better, he just might be able to talk the woman he never thought he’d see again into greenlighting a do-over.

In this sexy, heartwarming, Secret Baby, 80’s throwback romcom, a Sunshine-Grumpy pair has to face the past before they can find their future… together.

 

I have read and loved all of the books in the Boston Classics series so far and every time Karen announces a new one, I get crazy excited. And when she finally released the title, cover and blurb for Child of Mine, I was beyond stoked! We’ve all met and loved Bella as a supporting character through the books. There have been instances where you feel like she’s not going to be your favourite, but then she does something amazing and it changes your feelings right away. So to finally have her story and see more of her and Lilah and just fall in love with this little family gave me life. 

Child of Mine features child actor and soap star Bella York and her struggles to be everything all at once––a mother, a daughter, an actress and an employee at her mother’s bookstore. Having grown up in the spotlight, Bella is finally free from that life. Like most young celebrities, Bella had her own share of demons that made it hard for her to have a normal life. But now as an adult, and a six year old daughter, she’s doing everything she can to make it work. Including taking a job working on the show that gave her her first break. Henry Smith has had big dreams and he’s done whatever he can to make those come true. A lot has stood in his way, including his own father, but when he loses his father, Henry’s life comes into focus and he becomes more focused on doing what he thinks is right. But when an offer he can’t refuse lands in his lap, Henry isn’t going to walk away from that. 

Even if it means running into the woman he’s been unable to get out of his head after one hot, passion filled night in New York City.

These characters are phenomenal. Karen delivers every single one of her characters with so much care and love and you can feel that as you turn the pages. Bella is aware of her shortcomings, but she doesn’t use them as an excuse for the things she does or the choices she makes. Instead, Bella holds her head up high and works to be better. She’s such a strong and powerful character too, having gone through a lot of things in her youth, and standing tall through it all. Henry is really amazing too. My favourite thing about him is that he doesn’t get along with kids, but he’s directing and working on a kids show––I mean, it’s a running joke through the book and it made me chuckle whenever it came up. But Henry is a great guy, he’s determined and driven, focused on his job, but when the important things start happening, he puts more focus on that. For Henry, the job is important and he works a lot, but he also enjoys the simple things.

I am always wary of the ‘secret baby’ trope, because it can go so wrong so fast! But I believe that Karen did a fantastic job showing the struggle these characters go through, the conversation that follows and all of the drama and angst that builds from there. I think this trope can be handled well if the author treats the characters like mature adults and not just two people looking for a way to mess things up.

Bella and Henry’s relationship is chef’s kiss. I really liked the amount of communication and connecting they did. They meet under less than ideal circumstances 7 years ago, but when they’re back together in the same space and working around each other, it’s almost like those years between their first and second meeting don’t exist. It’s seamless! Yes, their relationship is heavily sexual and physical, but with each interaction and growing attraction as they work together, their relationship develops. While steamy, it’s not explicit, but it fits these two so perfectly. I even enjoyed the moments of miscommunication because it was a lot of ‘jumping to conclusions’ that were resolved right away, but to see that happen on the page is always a good thing.

And of course, the best part of these books is that they’re all set in the 80s. As an 80s baby (I was too young to know a lot of the stuff mentioned, but I still grew up with it) to have a romance series set in that time-frame is so exciting. It’s clear that Karen has does lots of research in terms of television and soap operas, language and clothes, and of course people and the places. And you can see all of that in the tiny details we get while we’re falling in love with these characters. I really hope there’s more books in the Boston Classics series and we get to interact with more characters from past books, because those glimpses of Jess and Cal, Ben and Lucy––totally made my day!

Thanks to Karen Grey for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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