by Margot Early

October 2008
ISBN: 978-0373752331
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin
Mass Market Paperback

Leah Williams is a young widow with a four year old daughter and who makes a living as a midwife. Her life is simple yet fulfilling. Ellen, sister of Leah, does not have the same contentment. She wants a child and so far Ellen hasnít been able to get pregnant. Ellen asks Leah to be a surrogate mother, and her husband asks his brother to donate his sperm for artificial insemination. The result is a success. Leah is pregnant. Everything is progressing beautifully until one day Leah gets a phone call from her sister. Most unexpectedly Ellen has gotten pregnant. The deal is off and Leah is left holding the baby.

For Leah there is no question she will keep the baby. Still, she feels it only fair to inform Mark, the man who donated his sperm, of her decision. Leah doesnít expect anything from him which is why she is surprised and not a little alarmed when Mark wants to be actively involved in his childís life. She has never liked Mark. His arrogance is off-putting. Not to mention Leah is sure their parenting skills are in no way alike. Watching him around Mary Grace, her four year old daughter is proof he and Leah do not agree. Leah allows Mark to be around as much as he likes, but she will not allow him to be a bully.

Mark Logan didnít have much of a say in the raising of his first child. After his divorce, his wife took their daughter and moved out of state. He has witnessed the results of his ex-wifeís mistakes with their teenage daughter and he sees the lack of discipline in Mary GraceĎs life. Mark is determined to make a difference. Meanwhile, he is falling in love with Leah. Will their different parental expectations be too much for them to live a life happily ever after?

Margot Early is a gifted storyteller. In her novels love is a living thing, not an emotion that is carried about on a whim. Her characters are real with believable issues and affirming solutions.

Holding the Baby is no different. Leahís strength is encouraging. By the end, the reader feels like she has met a new friend. Mark is frustrating in his determination to have it all his way, but by the end of the book he has grown enough to include his familyís opinions and wishes into future plans.

If you enjoy stories full of life and brimming with emotion, Margot Early is the author you need.

Reviewed in September 2008 by Rho.

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