In this London Hospital Midwives story, when Harry Beaumont, Duke of Montrose, arrives at Queen Victoria Hospital, down-to-earth midwife Esther McDonald clashes with the buttoned-up neonatal surgeon! They’re from different worlds, but when Harry invites Esther to a glittering ball, she begins to see beyond his title to the man inside. Independent Esther’s life has never been a fairy-tale – dare she let gorgeous Harry sweep her off her feet?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The setting captures the ethos of a busy London hospital’s NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The first in the ‘London Hospital Midwife’series, dedicated Midwife/Nurse Esther, meets celebrated and driven surgeon Harry, who is also a Duke.
Esther works extra shifts to help her mother. Feeling sick and tired, she clashes with the visiting surgeon, who questions her competency. Harry is a world-renown cardiac surgeon for neonates. Superficially friendly, he has deep emotional scars and professional trust issues.
Overt conflict gives way to understanding, and eventually the chance of romance. The romance takes a few chapters to get going, but the story is interesting. When the chemistry begins to sizzle, it is authentic and worth the wait.
Both characters are relatable, and you want them to overcome their internal conflicts and find a life outside work. The plot is pacy and has many conflicts. The romance is lovely and the ending perfectly pitched, a happy ending for a modern-day Cinderella and her Duke.
Verity seems to have it all. A beautiful home, two grown-up sons and a husband who has always been her rock. But one day, the doorbell rings. And it changes Verity’s life forever.
Saskia has nowhere else to go. Before she died, her mother left her with her father’s name and nothing else. The only way for Saskia to take care of herself – and her unborn baby – is to find the father she never knew. And the family that didn’t know she existed.
This family secret means the end of everything they’ve ever known. But could it also be the chance for a new beginning?
I received a copy of this book from Aria-Fiction in return for an honest review.
Verity is coming to terms with an empty nest, her two boys are at university and her husband’s new job means he’s away a lot of the time. She is a teacher, helping young people who struggle with learning. She has good friends and knows she can build, a new life.
On her first day alone, she has an unexpected visitor, a young woman Saskia. When she finds out, why she’s there, Verity is understandably stunned. Despite her wariness, she takes control and doesn’t judge. Attempting to achieve the best outcome for everyone, in a difficult and unexpected situation.
Saskia is in an emotional wilderness, recently bereaved, pregnant, with the baby’s father overseas, she is looking for a lifeline. Nathan, Verity’s husband, who Saskia believes is her father, is it. In reality, it’s Verity, not Nathan who is driving force. This story is about women, and how they cope with crises and keep the family together.
The story is emotional. The characters and their motivations are believable, and the plot although simple showcases this character-driven story well. The pacing and writing style, are classical, with the emphasis on narrative and retro dialogue. This doesn’t detract from the story, just gives it a distinctive voice that will appeal to many readers of family drama and relationships.
The ending offers realistic hope for future happiness and the possibility of a follow-up story.
Guest Post – Minna Howard – A Mother’s Secret
Idea for the plot for A Mother’s Secret
Ideas for books are often a mystery and when one pops in your mind it is a great relief to set off on a hopefully, exciting journey.
Before the arrival of reliable testing, men could never be sure if they were the biological father of a child. Apparently, in upper-class Victorian families, as long as a wife had given her husband an heir and a spare, no one took much notice if any other babies appeared in the nursery.
Now with modern testing, a person can find out who fathered them, which in itself has caused many upsets as well as joy. There have been such true stories in the press recently and they make a good plot for a novel.
Young men, (or not so young) might have affairs on holiday while far away from home and leave behind a child and never know. It was this situation that caught my imagination as a plot for A Mother’s Secret.
Also, the good old, ‘what would happen if?’ comes into it. Imagine how such a surprise might rock a stable marriage, if this cuckoo in the nest suddenly appears on the doorstep, needing help and support. A decent, loving husband who’d never been ‘unfaithful’ to his wife, though had had a few flings before he met her when he was young and fancy-free, discovers now, to his surprise and even horror, that that time has produced a person who is part of him. How does it affect the family, the other children and his wife?
I usually write about families, decent people chugging along, doing their best until something or someone, barges in to overturn everything they believed in, change the dynamics of their family.
Will they survive it, become stronger, or might it be the last straw to break its back?
And what of the ‘child’, how do they feel and how do they and indeed their ‘baggage’ fit into this already established family, how do they all end up?
Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London.