Much Ado About Marriage
Much Ado About Marriage is a re-write of One Lucky Lord which Karen Hawkins published in 2000 under the name Kim Bennet. It’s been changed somewhat to tie in with The MacLean Curse series and it introduces The Hurst Amulet series.
It’s not that Fia MacLean isn’t grateful to her cousin Duncan for taking her in after her parents died, but she really, really wants a lot more out of her life. Fia is a playwright and wants to present her work at the court of Queen Elizabeth, while Duncan wants her to settle down with a husband of his choosing. So, like a true feisty romance-land chick, she decides to run away.
While sneaking out the castle window, Fia runs smack into Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Rotherwood, who is trying to sneak into the castle to steal a document for his patron, Lord Walsingham. Thomas is handsome, rich, favored by the Queen and quite the golden boy, but he spends his time trying to prove himself to his dead father (daddy issues you know). Fia and Thomas attempt to flee, but they are captured by Duncan who imprisons Thomas and then introduces Fia to the man he has chosen for her. She hates him on sight (he’s a mama’s boy whose mama is a harridan). So Fia and Thomas attempt to flee again and are caught in a compromising position. Before you can say, I Do – they are married and on their way back to England (sans the document that Thomas was supposed to get).
Much Ado About Marriage then turns into a cabin romance. Fia and Thomas are on board his ship sailing to England. Thomas is attracted to Fia but turns sullen, since he feels as though he has been forced into marriage. Fia is attracted to Thomas, but she wants a marriage with love and she thinks Thomas doesn’t love her. When she proposes they not consummate their marriage so as to get an annulment in England, he agrees. However when Fia asks Thomas’s best friend Robert MacQuarrie to teach her how to act in Elizabeth’s court, Thomas immediately becomes jealous of them. Thomas and Fia are carried away, consummate the marriage, and right afterward he starts to act like a total churl. When they land in England, the author tosses in several court intrigues (these are the Tudors after all) and I’ll admit my eyes glazed over. The book limps to an open end (a happy one) and sets up the Hurst Amulet series.
Much Ado About Marriage is split into two parts. The beginning, when Thomas and Fia meet and become entangled is light, funny and makes you smile. Then when they get on board ship, it seems as though all the charm gets sucked right out of the pair of them. Thomas glowers, Fia flounces and neither of them ever stop to think it might be a good idea to talk to each other. All the charm Thomas and Fia showed prior to their marriage is transferred to Robert MacQuarrie – a wit, a peacock and a deadly man with a blade. He must get his own story, he simply must.
I’ve read my share of Karen Hawkins’s books and they can be a lot of fun . Much Ado About Marriage showed signs of being a nice light read, but then Thomas and Fia got on the ship. They should have stayed on dry land.