Thursday, December 31, 2009

Marry Me, Conveniently

One of the first romances I ever read was a marriage of convenience story. It was MARRY IN HASTE by Jane Aiken Hodge. It's been a long time since I've read it, so I remember only snippets, but the one thing I do remember is that it fueled my love of marriage of convenience stories. So much to enjoy about a good marriage of convenience story--the forced proximity, the pretend intimacy that leads to real intimacy, the reluctance to admit it when you've fallen in love with your husband or wife, because doing so breaks the contract you made...

But there's a flipside. It's darned hard to write a good marriage of convenience story in a contemporary setting. It's an old-fashioned concept, easier to sell in periods of history where marriage was more of a contract and less of a love match to begin with.

I've often toyed with the idea of writing a marriage of convenience story in an Intrigue, but so far, I haven't been able to figure out a way to make it work. There are so many other options for people these days besides marriage to solve problems that weren't as easily solved back in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example. A good lawyer could probably get around an unreasonable stipulation in a will, for instance. Or a person could afford to opt out of the will altogether, choosing his freedom over money or property.

So it got me to wondering--do people still love marriage of convenience stories? Can they be written convincingly in contemporary romances? And if you love them, do you have any favorites you'd like to tell us about? And were any of those favorites also contemporary romances?

P. S. - Linda Henderson, Donna Kaufman and Crystal-Rain Love, I still haven't received your mailing address information so I can send you the books you won during the Blog Days of Christmas. Thanks!

(Crossposted at the eHarlequin Intrigue Authors blog).


Kea said...

Hmm, marriage of convenience doesn't appeal to me for the most part. Certainly it can work in an historical novel, but you are right in that we have many more options in today's modern era.

I prefer female characters to be gutsy and sassy, able to take care of themselves. Often in a marriage of convenience, it's the man who holds the (initial) power over the woman and that does not appeal to me at all. How can you have a healthy relationship unless you are on equal footing with your partner?

Chambers35 said...

I love the historical marriage of convenience stories. One of my favorites is Outlander by Diana Gabladon. Claire must marry Jamie in order to keep her safe from Jack Randall. (insert swoon here...)

You could use the twist of criminal underworld, such as mafia or gang activity.

Linda Henderson said...

I'm so sorry,I just assumed you received it. Next time I will check. Information is on it's way. Please let me know if you don't receive it for some reason. I used the address from your website.

Carla Swafford said...

Me too, Paula. One of my favorite themes. I believe it's possible even now. It can be a financial arrangement or two people who agreed in their teens to marry in their forties if they don't have a special one, etc. I would read any of those. :-) Happy New Year, girlfriend!

Crystal-Rain Love said...

I won?!?!?!?! Sorry. I'm racing against deadline so I've been in the writing cave. Fortunately this just popped up in a Google alert ( - ;