Condition of Marriage
Condition of Marriage is the latest in the Dynasties: The Ashtons miniseries. It’s a friends-become-lovers story that also gives new readers some of the backstory to the series.
Mercedes Ashton is Spencer Ashton’s daughter by his second marriage. She works for the Louret Vinyards in the publicity department. She’s always hated Spencer – he ignored her and her siblings and cheated on their mother. As an adult Mercedes spends her time going from man to man, never falling in love. After Spencer was murdered, the press got wind of the fact that his second marriage was illegal. So Mercedes and her siblings are now illegitimate and hounded by the press.
Mercedes has been dating Craig Bradford, a handsome lying cheat. When she learns that she is pregnant, she knows that she wants the baby, but she doesn’t want Craig in the picture – he’s way too much like her father. When her good friend Jared Maxwell finds out about her prenancy, he proposes a marriage of convenience until the press finds some other scandal to chase.
Jared and Mercedes have known each other for years, they like each other as people, and they are well suited. The conflict comes about because Jared was once married to Mercedes’s good friend Chloe, who was killed in an accident that Jared blames himself for. Secretly, Chloe blames herself for the accident too…there is much angst all around before the truth comes out.
In the meantime, Mercedes has morning sickness all day, Jared has problems with his father, the press makes nuisances of themselves, and Craig skulks villainously around making threats about fighting Mercedes for custody of the baby, until Jared puts a stop to him. Finally Mercedes and Jared declare their love and the series moves an inch forward.
This series is going to have to have to start moving a bit faster since there are only three books left, and I have no clue at all as to who killed the evil Spencer Ashton (and neither does anyone else). Actually, the mystery of who killed Spencer is way on the backburner in this series. Frankly, it’s a pity he’s dead since he had more presence than just about any other character in the series.
Condition of Marriage is smoothly written, and nicely average. That’s about it. Next month’s title features a bachelorette auction. I’ve read some enjoyable books with that theme, so I’m hoping for a good one.