If you are a fan of the Lifetime Television network or you love to cry while you are reading, you may just like Saved by the Baby better than I did. While I love happy ever after stories, I strongly dislike an author tugging at my emotions for emotion’s sake. This story about a mother seeking a bone marrow donor for her child is one of those stories.
Julianna Reynolds grew up in Blackwood, Oklahoma, and swore she’d never go back. The town’s bad boy, whom she was in love with all through high school, broke her heart. Of course, she is the one who left town to reach her dreams of a modeling career. When she discovered she was pregnant and tried to call her ex, she discovered he was already married to someone else. So, she had the baby and has raised her in California. But now she needs help.
Tate McIntyre, who was always in trouble as a teenager, is now the county sheriff. He has reformed with a capital R. He helps the Boy Scouts, is a Big Brother, takes in lost dogs until he can find them a home and even investigates a non-existent peeping Tom to give elderly Mrs. Barkley some company. He is also divorced. He only married because Julianna left him and then he busted up his knee playing football, ending his dream of playing in the pros.
He doesn’t know he has a daughter, who is the spitting image of him. He also doesn’t know she has leukemia and needs to find a blood marrow donor soon or she will die. Julianna comes back to Blackwood to hold a bone marrow drive – in the guise of model turned wonderful person. But really she just wants Tate’s bone marrow…certain he will be a match for Megan. When he isn’t she comes back to make a deal. The doctors are telling Julianna that the only absolute match will be a sister or brother conceived by the same parents as Megan. That means Tate.
Naturally, Tate is less than excited to discover this secret. But he is thrilled to know he has a child, and agrees to do anything. So Tate and Julianna marry in order to have a child since Tate refuses to father another child without it being legal. Then they agree to live as man and wife until after the baby is born and the procedure is done. Yup, you guessed it. They still love each other but can’t tell each other. And they both like playing house and neither wants to quit, except they can’t tell each other.
Any reader can guess the rest. And yes, it is heartwarming to see Megan get to know Tate and they both learn to love each other. And it is great to see Tate and Julianna rekindle their romance. And yes, it is heart-wrenching when Megan starts showing signs her remission is up. And yes, there is a happy ending.
But the sentiment is almost sickly while the sickness seems almost an afterthought. Tate is way too good to be true. He has almost no faults. He even convinces Julianna to give up her modeling career as she knows it, because he wants her to be the lovely mother and attentive wife. Julianna is a wimp, crying all the time (which would be natural if your child had leukemia). My problem with this is that when she was in California she was strong and determined and carried the weight of the world. And she survived. Now, as soon as she becomes a Mrs., she becomes Suzy Homemaker and reliant on Tate for everything! Yuck. Spare me, please.
Bone marrow drives are a much-needed thing and there are many sick children out there who need help. But write a public service announcement instead of hiding it in what is supposed to be a romance novel. Saved by the Baby is a movie of the week for sure.