The Greatest Gift, by Caitlin Crews

by Caitlin Crews, author of Majesty, Mistress…Missing Heir (Harlequin Presents, October 2010)

When I was six days old, my fourteen-year-old birth mother gave me up for adoption.  I can’t imagine what her life was like back then.  I can’t imagine the heartache, the pain, the fear she must have gone through to make this decision and carry it out in Texas in the Seventies.  I do imagine that she thought she was doing the right thing, the best thing, for a baby I don’t know if she ever held.  And I know I think of her every day.  I give thanks for her courage, her bravery.  I know that I would not be where I am now, much less who I am now, were it not for her act of sacrifice—her faith that through her pain and unselfishness she could give me a better life.

She did.

But deep down, I wonder if we secretly believe that a mother’s love is possessive—that a good mother, a real mother, would find a way to keep her child, no matter what.  So many stories tell us this, again and again.  In books and movies and television shows, we see people go to extraordinary lengths to hold on to their children no matter what—and we can all relate.  Who wouldn’t do these things for their child?  And yet at the same time, one of the most enduring stories we have of motherhood is the tale of King Solomon, and the mother who was ready to give up her baby forever rather than see it hurt.

Maybe, sometimes, the greatest love of all is sacrifice.

In my October release, MAJESTY, MISTRESS…MISSING HEIR, I wanted to explore all of these questions.  My heroine, Jessa, made a very difficult decision after the hero left her and now, five years later, must face the consequences of that decision.  By the same token, Tariq, my tortured hero, must also face up to his own responsibility in the only choices Jessa felt were left open to her after he left so long ago.  Who are they now?  Can they find their way back to loving each other?  And what will they do when faced with a decision that has the potential to hurt more than just the two of them?  Will they let themselves love enough to make the greatest sacrifice—the greatest gift—of all?

I hope you’ll read to find out!

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Comments ( 23 )
  1. Maisey Yates
    September 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Caitlin,

    First of all, your mother was very brave. To do the right thing, even when it hurts.

    I think that’s a brilliant theme to explore. That’s real love isn’t it? Doing what you feel is the absolute best thing, even when it hurts.

    You rock!

  2. Caitlin Crews
    September 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hi Maisey,

    Yes, I think she must have been incredibly brave.

    I think our books are such a great way to explore these things, because everything is so LARGE in them. Big emotion, big stakes, big problems. That’s why Presents are so delicious–and why the good ones haunt you ever after.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Caitlin

  3. Lynn Raye Harris
    September 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Wow, Caitlin, what an incredible story! And now it makes MMMH even more poignant to me. The adoption in the story was hard, and I found myself aching for them both and wishing it could have turned out another way. And yet, it was so powerful and well done. Cheers to you on a beautiful story!

    I agree with Maisey: your mother was very brave. Thanks for making me sniffle this morning! Now I have to fix my makeup before heading off to an event at Hubby’s work!

    Lynn

  4. Maisey Yates
    September 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I wanted to add…thank you for giving us an opportunity to read about new conflict, and a happily ever after that comes out of circumstances you don’t often read about. 🙂

  5. Caroline Storer
    September 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    What a lovely blog – it brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for sharing. Caroline x

  6. Jane Porter
    September 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve known you for years but had never heard some of this about your adoption and it makes me just love you and MAJESTY, MISTRESS…MISSING HEIR even more. I adored this book, Caitlin, from the first time I read it in manuscript draft form, totally blown away by the emotional punch of the ending. I think your mother was strong and brave, and so are you.

  7. Kate Hewitt
    September 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    What a lovely post, Caitlin, and what a great inspiration for your Presents! I can’t wait to read it and have it ready on my brand-new nook 🙂 I love when real life inspires Presents–it’s not *just* fantasy. And you’re right, your mother was incredibly brave.

  8. Kate Walker
    September 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hello Caitlin

    That was a brave and loving thing that your birth mother did. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her at just 14 to have to make a decision like that. It’s no wonder it means so much to you.
    It’s one of the things I love about the Presents line that it can encompass difficult themes as well as the ones that readers generally think of as ‘romantic’. It gives us the opportunity, within the ‘fantasy’ element, to look at things that are not always easy to consider.

  9. Caitlin Crews
    September 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Lynn– thank you so much. That means so much to me!

    Maisey– You know, it’s funny. I guess I’ve always objected to how adoption is treated in romance novels. In our house growing up, where I was just one of four adopted kids, and that was just normal every day life, it was terrifying to think that someone could just turn up on the front stoop one day and “claim” us. Our family was our family and our parents were and are our parents. Our family just happens to be possible because of the incredible sacrifice and bravery of four women we’ve never met.

    Jane– As usual, you are far too kind to me. Thank you! 🙂

  10. Caitlin Crews
    September 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Kate and Kate– I think that’s what I love most about Presents. People seem to focus a whole lot on the fantasy elements–and they’re fun, to be sure–but what I love as a fan and reader are the emotional truths that only a Presents can tell so intensely.

  11. Joanne Dannon
    September 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you for an interesting post and sharing something so personal. I think your mother was incredibly brave, especially at such a young age!

    MMMH sounds like a fabulous read, especially as it appears you’ve included some of your personal experiences into it, I can’t wait to read it.

  12. Natalie Anderson
    October 1, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Hi Caitlin – wow, you got me in the gut with this post – and made me tear up. I think your birth mother was very brave and also agree with Jane that you are too.

    I love your comment:

    “…what I love as a fan and reader are the emotional truths that only a Presents can tell so intensely…”

    Yes I totally agree – I love the fiction, but its that emotional *honesty* that makes a story great and that moves us as readers. But it takes courage to put that honesty on paper – sometimes a huge amount of courage. I’ll definitely be picking up MMMH as soon as I can, it sounds amazing.

  13. Heidi Rice
    October 1, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Caitlin, I was deeply touched by your post… Your birth mother sounds like an amazing woman – as do you. And MMMH sounds like an amazing story.

  14. Maurine
    October 1, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Wow! What a powerful post. I wasn’t expecting that. Kudos to you and good luck with the book.

  15. Caitlin Crews
    October 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Joanne, Heidi, and Maurine–thanks so much! I’m so glad the post moved you, and I hope you enjoy the book if you pick it up.

    Natalie–I suspect that sometimes, when I’m struggling with a story, it’s because I’m resisting just how deep I have to go to really do justice to the characters with that unflinching emotional honesty. There’s a lot of flinching that comes first!

  16. Jennie Lucas
    October 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Wow, Caitlin… what an amazing story. Thanks for sharing something so personal and so deeply moving. I can’t wait to read your book.

  17. Sharon Kendrick
    October 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Caitlin, this is an inspirational post on so many levels. Thank you for sharing.
    What a brave mother….who I bet would be so proud of her talented daughter.

  18. Monique DeVere
    October 2, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Caitlin,

    What a moving post! If this is a touch of the emotional depth we can expect in MMMH, it’s sure to be a riveting read!

    Hugs,
    Monique

  19. Sarah Morgan
    October 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Caitlin, that is such a moving story – like Lynn, I have to go and touch up my make up now…..

    I read Majesty, Mistress – Missing Heir a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was incredible. Your use of language is so beautiful and the story is so deeply emotional, I enjoyed it hugely. It’s a definite keeper.
    x

  20. Caitlin Crews
    October 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Jennie and Monique– thank you so much! I hope you’ll enjoy the book!

    Sharon– That’s a very sweet sentiment. Thanks!

    Sarah– Wow. It’s always so wonderful to hear that a reader connected with your book, but when that reader is another writer, it means so much… And when that writer is you? I’m so touched. Thank you.

  21. Cara
    October 4, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Reading and writing are so often a way of making sense of the world and I have every admiration for the way you authors do plumb the depths of emotion. Often when I’m reading I think, ‘heavens, here comes yet another layer.’ Looking at those layers in real life is something we rarely do because it can be exhausting and I’m sure it can also be exhausting but at the same time very rewarding to write all those multi-layered characters. I shall definitely look out for Majesty, Mistress, Missing Heir – it might even be my first e-download! Thank you Caitlin! And I’m so pleased that your own personal story turned out so wonderfully.

  22. Maurine
    October 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Caitlin, I don’t know if you’re still checking these posts, but I wanted to let you know that I really really enjoyed ‘Pure Princess, Battered Bride’. I gave it top marks in my own informal rating system. I read it in a day when I was off work for Presidents’ Day (I’m sure George and Abe would approve) this past February.

    I was truly impressed with the caliber of the writing and the story itself riveted me. I look forward to reading more of your books. Good luck and thank you for a great read!

  23. Caitlin Crews
    October 5, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Cara–Layers are always so much fun. The more you peel away, the more you love the character, I find! I hope you enjoy MMMH, especially if it’s your first e-download!

    Maurine–Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed Pure Princess, Bartered Bride! Thanks for letting me know!