I do a lot of used romance buying in thrift stores. I actually have a couple of amazing used bookstores in my area, but it’s always wonderfully serendipitous to arrive at a Goodwill the same day someone has off-loaded their complete collection of 1970s Harlequins. Or, in this case, a random Harlequin Romance from 2002 by new-to-me author Lucy Gordon. I picked it up because I noticed initials on the cover, a pretty good sign that it was intended to be passed around among a group of romance-reading friends. And then when I opened the cover, I saw this:
This one is a contemporary marriage of convenience, a relative rarity in my experience. I love this trope in historical romances, but it can seem sort of contrived in contemporaries so A Convenient Wedding was a pleasant surprise. American oil heiress Meryl Winters advertises for a fortune hunter so she can gain control of her full fortune from her trustee. Jarvis Larne is an aristocrat with an impoverished estate. It’s a very 19th century set-up, but it never feels mired in the past.
Meryl, while a spoiled rich brat in the beginning, has other endearing qualities. She’s got good instincts for business and people and a flawless sense of style. Jarvis is gruff, growly and resentful of his need for funds. They’re both fairly strong-willed characters and it takes some doing for them to get over their initial dislike and distrust of each other. Plus both have some growing to do in different ways, which seemed realistic. It even had some sexytimes, not explicit, but not fade-to-black either. Meryl and Jarvis both have wicked tempers so the fact that they did eventually get down to business suited their passionate natures. I was relieved that they went for it.
If there was one persistent irritant in the book, it was the presence of an Evil Other Woman, a long-time friend of the hero’s family who seems to regard him as her property. She’s basically a walking, whining plot device and I never like to see women treated that way in romance. She eventually flees the scene, one assumes never to be heard from again, never mind that they’re neighbors. Also, I believe this author is British because the Americans in the book used some terms like “mobile” for cell phone and “clever” in ways that Americans just don’t. It’s a minor quibble in an otherwise astonishingly good book.
I loved the book overall. A Convenient Wedding is the sort of category romance I always hope to find when I scoop up random reads for pennies. And I’m EXTRA GLAD for TBR Challenge this month for finally inspiring me to pick up this EXTRA GOOD read.