A Bride for His Convenience
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of marriage-of-convenience stories, so this one was right up my alley! Ian, Marquess of Sutcombe has recently inherited an empty title. His father’s profligacy and his step-mother’s greed have bankrupted his estate and he has no alternative but to marry an heiress. He is naturally not thrilled at the prospect, but beggars can’t be choosers, and he settles on Hannah Leeds, daughter of a wealthy businessman and mill-owner. Hannah is on the rebound, however, having recently been dumped by the young man she thought had loved her, and Ian is too preoccupied with his own humiliation at what he sees as being bought and paid for to pay much attention to the fact that his new fiancée is overly subdued.
The best thing about this book could also be regarded as its biggest downfall. Both Ian and Hannah are such sensible characters who, as they get to know each other, open up more and more and actually TALK to each other (Gasp! This is so often not the case in historical romances!) that there isn’t a great deal of conflict in the book. The upside to that is that there aren’t any silly misunderstandings (so far), and what we actually get to read feels like quite a realistic portrait of a marriage between two people who come together under trying circumstances who have to work out how to get along. It isn’t always easy; Ian is very touchy about the fact that he feels as though he’s been bought, and reacts badly to even the faintest intimation that he is obliged to do whatever his new wife wants – even taking her to bed becomes a minefield full of who wants what and is doing what to please whom! – and Hannah is still suffering the hurt and humiliation of rejection. She is also unsure of Ian, who is so inscrutable that she despairs of ever coming to know him or being able to have a companionable relationship with him.
The book proceeds along these lines until around the 75% mark, which is when the silly misunderstandings begin, and the author injects a bit of melodrama with the introduction of Ian’s wicked step-mama, who really IS evil, and brings back Hannah’s youthful love just to throw a spanner in the works. It’s completely superfluous and I could have done without it; and I didn’t at all appreciate the manner in which Ian seemed to suddenly believe that Hannah would betray him in spite of her repeated assertion that the man meant nothing to her.
I’d have graded A Bride for His Convenience in the B range but for the final quarter of it; I liked the way Ian and Hannah gradually came to understand each other, but the silliness and melodrama towards the end mean I’m giving it a C+.