“Baby Love” was Louisa Young’s debut novel.
Evangeline Gower had a successful career as a belly dancer until a motorcycle crash injured her and killed her pillion passenger.
That pillion passenger was Evangeline’s pregnant sister Janie, who had been desperate to escape the ex boyfriend who was threatening to break the injunction stopping him from coming near her.
Three years later Evangeline has her life back on an even keel and is raising Janie’s daughter Lily with the support of her parents.
But her equilibrium is disturbed when Janie’s ex boyfriend Jim appears with his new wife, wanting to reclaim Lily.
And Evangeline has unwittingly committed a motoring offence. Wanting to avoid prosecution she agrees to help to police with a case in which her own ex boyfriend may be involved.
That draws Evangeline into a shadowy world of drug dealers, pornographers and corrupt policemen and she finds that there were things in Janie’s life that she knew nothing about.
Louisa Young has created a believable cast of characters and she handles the emotional content – bereavement, parental love, the discovery of things you don’t like about people you love – with a sure touch.
It’s a shame that the emotional story is pushed to one side to make way for the thriller element of the plot much of the second half of the book
That side of the book is dramatic, but unbelievable in quite a few places. The fast pace and the quality of the writing carries the day though.
The ending ties things up nicely while leaving space for sequels (there are two).
“Baby Love” isn’t a book I want to keep but it’s definitely good enough to make me want to read those sequels.