Marriage On Demand
When it comes to series romances, I normally read the longer ones, usually Silhouette Intimate Moments or Harlequin Superromances. Marriage On Demand is the first title I have ever read in the Harlequin Romance line. I liked it fairly well, but at 186 pages, it was awfully short and left me wanting more.
Rena Lambert is to marry Ford Harlow. Her father has commanded it and she will obey as she has obeyed every command he has ever given her. Besides, her father sneers, who would ever want a mannish woman like Rena? After all, daddy dearest says, Ford is marrying her only to get the tract of Lambert land he’s been wanting.
Bitterly ashamed, Rena plans to run away to anywhere, but Ford stands up for her. He demands that Rena be given the Lambert ranch in her father’s will or there will be no marriage, and with no marrige there will be no son to inherit. To her surprise, Rena’s father agrees. She and Ford will marry in four days.
Rena goes to live in Ford’s house for the four day waiting period and she begins to come out of her shell. Rena is the most held-back, repressed character I have seen in a long time. All she ever did was work. She is a stranger to parties, shopping, make-up, dresses, and friends. Rena has always been attracted to Ford, but has absorbed her father’s image of her and she just knows that Ford is only marrying her to get his hands on the land. That fact that he has never said “I love you” only proves it.
The resolution to the story comes when Rena’s father dies suddenly and she finds out the truth about her parents.
As I said, Marriage On Demand is short. There is little room for development and as a consequence, most of the emphasis is on Rena. We find out quite a bit about her, but Ford is as shadowy a character as I have ever seen. I don’t even know what he looks like – “rugged” is about as close as we get to a description of him. Rena and Ford’s problems could all be solved quite easily if they would only talk about them, but they don’t till the very end. Not that there’s any room in the book for them to talk. I read it from cover to cover in a little over an hour.
The basic plot of Marriage On Demand is a good one. There is much room for conflict and character development, and I think if it was expanded, it would make a very interesting title in one of Harlequin/Silhouette’s longer lines. As for me, I think I’ll stay away from books as short as this.