Confession: I am a total sucker for marriage of convenience stories. I’ve read hundreds of them, but have only really written one – His Very Convenient Bride, out this month from Harlequin Romance / Mills and Boon Cherish.
I think what I like most about them is how inconvenient the marriage always turns out to be. And how, despite that, it turns out to be exactly what the hero and heroine need.
Traditionally, most MoC stories start with the characters’ assumptions that marriage – without love – will solve some other, seemingly more important, problem in the lives. But while it might provide the answer to their immediate problems – be it money, a business merger, a demanding will or dying relative or whatever – it soon becomes clear that marriage is more of a problem in itself. Especially when feelings get involved.
While few of us can claim to have entered a marriage of convenience of the sort so often featured in books, one of the things I enjoy about these stories is that the trope really isn’t as far fetched as it initially seems.
Most people, I think, enter marriage with certain expectations of what it will be like. And these days, given the prevalence of co-habitation before marriage, we quite often think life will just continue as normal with the added presence of sparkly jewellery and some nice photos of our big day. But in truth, marriage – or any sort of life long commitment, like having kids together – is intrinsically different to muddling along as a couple. Suddenly, there’s no easy way out if things get hard, and there’s more at stake than the rental deposit if you split up. More than that, just being referred to as someone’s wife, or husband, makes you start to think about your role and life differently. You become more of a team, more than just yourself.
Watching this happen to characters who haven’t even got as far as falling in love yet always amuses me. And then following their tumble into love leaves me breathless.
Because everyone knows that love is going to be far more problematic than whatever problem they got married to avoid in the first place, right?
That’s certainly the case for Helena and Flynn in His Very Convenient Bride. They get married for the same business reasons that Flynn was supposed to marry Helena’s sister (before she ran off at the end of A Groom Worth Waiting For) and to cover up Thea’s sudden disappearance. They figure they’ve known each other all their lives, they understand what they’re getting into, and neither of them is under the illusion of love. It will be fine.
Until, of course, feelings get involved – and secrets come out…
So, that’s my first Marriage of Convenience story. But what’s your all time favourite book featuring the trope? Or, if MoC isn’t for you, what tropes do you love and always pick up? (I’m also a sucker for best friends to lovers…)
His Very Convenient Bride
From bridesmaid to bride…
Stepping into her sister’s place at the altar beside gorgeous tycoon Flynn Ashton, Helena Morrison hopes saying ”I do” and uniting their two families will finally be enough to redeem her in her father’s eyes. It has nothing to do with the fact that she’s always held a special place in her heart for her childhood crush!
But after embarking on the perfect Tuscan honeymoon, their paper marriage dissolves to ash as an unexpected heat flares between them… Dare Helena dream that this convenient marriage could be the fresh start they’ve both been searching for?