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Beach Baby    by Joan Kilby order for
Beach Baby
by Joan Kilby
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

This is the story of Nina Kennerly and Reid Robertson, who fell in love while in high school, resulting in a pregnant Nina. Convinced by Reid's manipulative mother, Nina gave away the baby for adoption, thinking this was the right thing to do, despite the fact that Reid begged Nina to change her mind and even asked her to marry him. When Nina refused to listen to him, and gave the baby up on the day of the birth, Reid turned away from Nina. The two went their separate ways, heartbroken and angry.

The story begins nearly twenty years later. Reid has been involved in the life of his child, Amy, practically from birth, because the couple who adopted the baby happened to be friends of Reid's family. Amy was never told she was adopted, and therefore never knew Reid was her biological father. Reid is now a somewhat successful novelist, hoping for that big break. Nina is a popular TV personality. When Amy finds out she was adopted, she takes her baby and runs to Uncle Reid, hoping for solace and support. Reid decides it's time to tell Amy the truth, and contacts Nina after all these years to let her know that he's in touch with their child, who now is a mother of a one-year old!

When Nina arrives at his home, she introduces herself to Amy as her biological mother, which surprises and pleases Amy. Her mother is famous! But when Amy discovers her father is Reid, she becomes angry, knowing that he's lied to her all her life. She's also angry with her adoptive parents, who lied to her as well. Now, Reid needs to patch things up with Amy and explain to her why he never revealed who he really was. His daughter Tara - the result of his marriage to Carol, who is now deceased - is another problem. Tara sees Amy as a threat, just like her mother did, and resents Nina for barging into their lives.

While the main plot involves Nina and Reid and their rediscovery of each other, the plot involving Amy and her questions about her adoption also takes center stage. The fact that her boyfriend Ian, the father of their baby Beebee, wants to marry her, has history repeating itself. Nina tries to be a friend and a second mother to Amy, while Reid tries to work his way back into Amy's heart. In the meantime Tara feels neglected.

I enjoyed this story for its different slant on romance. It's a second chance at love, focusing on a couple who are now grandparents, and covering adoption and its impact on both the adopted child and the biological parents. At the same time, I appreciated the characters who weave in and out of the story - including the antics of baby Beebee, a rascal who gets into trouble at the drop of a hat and helps unite all the families in the end.

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