Jove, $5.99, ISBN 0-515-13169-5
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 2001
I suspect one’s enjoyment of Karen Fox’s Buttercup Baby hinges on one’s tolerance for the baby-girl heroine type. Ariel, the heroine of this story, is one of the fae. Contrary to the lusty “Orgy, orgy, orgy!” fae of legends and myths, Ariel hails from the Care Bear clan of fae folks.
She does not know anything about the modern world – nothing. Thus, when she stumbles into the world in her quest for a baby, watch out world. Ariel first appears in this author’s previous book Prince of Charming, and in this book, she falls in the love with the newborn of the couple of that book. She wants her own baby too!
Masquerading as a human, she decides to ask the brother of the friend of the heroine in the previous book to help whip up the necessary ingredients. Rand Thayer, however, balks at the idea. He has been babysitting what seems like a zillion female sisters and cousins all his life, and the last thing he needs is a woman saddling him with a baby. However, Ariel and her inability to cross the highway or even operate simple kitchen apparatus soon arouse our hero’s manly instincts. Once a babysitter, always a babysitter.
The author does try to make Ariel more than the usual hee-hee vacant-skulled Pollyanna, but that takes place in the later half of the story. You know, pregnancy is the auto-cure for girlyhood, after all. Once those eggs are stewing, your maternal instincts pop out just like that. Therefore, the first half of this story is pretty much Ariel gawking like a goldfish as everyone tries to pull her out of the busy highway. The later half, Ariel’s Maternal Hour, has her coming to some semblance of maturity. Then again, it’s all relative, as maturity here meaning Ariel knowing of her own shortcoming but not doing much about it. More often that not, this means she weeping and Randy Rand going “There, there, Daddy will drive those demons away!”
Buttercup Baby is not an outright icky-sweet girl-child romance, thanks to the author making Ariel somewhat human later in the story. Ariel has to weigh the consequences of her impulse decision to have a half-mortal baby as she realizes that she just cannot use Rand like a walking, talking sperm bank. Rand, however, remain the stock Daddy figure type.
The depths Ariel display eventually lead to some surprisingly substantial emotionally charged scenes. This makes Buttercup Baby a pretty good read. I do get the willies at some of the “Ooh, I’m so innocent, hee-hee!” antics Ariel gets into more than I would have liked, but still, this one’s pretty good.