I kept putting off writing this post because I was determined I was going to read a couple more books with this trope to fully flesh out this post, but I got tired of waiting. So we’re going to talk about five marriage of convenience books today that I would recommend and then a couple of books that are on my TBR still. Before we get started I want to note that this trope is more prevalent in historical and, from what I’ve seen, also tends to be pretty m/f in nature. However, I do have a sapphic recommendation with this trope, so let’s get to it!
- Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea Cameron
Let’s just go ahead and start with the contemporary sapphic novel I read when trying to flesh out this post a little more! I’m going to be upfront with you and admit that this is not my favorite book in this post, but it is one I think is worth reading and that I did enjoy for what it was. What I liked about this is that Lauren (Lo) and Cara agree to get married so Lo can access her inheritance and both Lo and Cara are in need of money. They are best friends and have been best friends for such a long time that Lo sees nothing wrong with offering to marry Cara even though, to Lo’s knowledge, Cara is straight. What I didn’t love about this is that I really felt like we were missing a lot by not having Cara’s perspective. I wanted to see her struggling and going to therapy because only seeing what was happening from Lo’s side just felt like we were missing such a huge emotional arc. That said, who doesn’t want a sapphic marriage of convenience? So I would still recommend!
2. After the Wedding by Courtney Milan
I have this book shelved as compromised so must marry, but apparently that’s just a reason to do a marriage of convenience in historical land so we’re counting it for this trope talk! After the Wedding follows Camille, a daughter of a disgraced aristocrat who sort of ran away from home and is working as a servant, and Adrian, a biracial Black man posing as a servant to help his rich white uncle. The two are trapped in a compromising situation and are forced to marry and then spend the book journeying around England trying to figure out how to annul their marriage. Because it’s Courtney Milan, the book is not only beautifully written but also brilliantly researched. I, as usual, adored it and am so excited for where the series is going to go next!
3. The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
I mean, can you even make a post about marriage of conveniences without including The Duchess Deal anymore? This book stars Emma, our seamstress who is suffering some repercussions of the Duke of Ashbury’s wedding falling through–namely, that she made the former future duchesses wedding dress and hasn’t been paid for it. So Emma does what any sensible woman would do and wears the wedding dress to the Duke’s London home and demands a meeting with him. Conveniently, the Duke was just thinking about how he needs a wife because he needs an heir and then a woman dressed in a wedding dress shows up in his office! And things take off from there. It’s brilliant, the series is brilliant, and I just can’t wait for Nicola’s book because I just finished The Wallflower Wager. Tessa’s writing is pretty fun and light for the most part and this book is no exception. However, content warning for some tragic backstory with Emma’s father, but also the actual greatest scene of putting a modern bit of dialogue into a historical book. I loved it.
4. Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
Balogh’s writing is so interesting to me because I haven’t read anyone else who writes quite like her. Her writing and her books move a bit slower than anyone else’s and do read more like you’re reading a book written ages ago, I think. That said, I really like her Westcott series and this book, in particular, is very interesting. Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl and so, he obviously needs a bride. Wren Hayden is a recluse who really needs a husband and when the new Earl takes residence, she decides now is the time to make her move. It’s interesting though because Wren is not charming in her efforts to get what she wants. She is very direct, a bit prickly, and just entirely her own person. I enjoyed her characterization. She does have a scar on her face so there’s content with her having feelings about that.
5. Once and For All by Cheryl Etchinson
Is getting married for health care benefits a little too real? Maybe, but honestly, it feels like one of the most realistic reasons people would marry for convenience nowadays. I mean, one of my friends interviewed at this law firm that didn’t offer health insurance and when she was like, “wtf?” the women responded that they were all on their husbands! How unhelpful. Anyway, that’s the premise of the marriage of convenience in this one. Specifically, Danny finds out his best friend and first love has cancer and he pretty much insists she marry him so she can get the benefit of his military health insurance. I liked this one and if you’re comfortable with the trope, I’d also recommend you check out Olivia Dade’s perfect novella, Cover Me, which she’s re-releasing in a bind up at some point this year (or you can find it in one of the Rogue anthologies).
Okay, moving on from the books I recommend with this trope and launching into just a few that are on deck for me at some point…
- Tempest by Beverly Jenkins – historical, m/f, mail order bride shoots her husband that she doesn’t realize is her husband
- Work in Progress by Staci Hart – contemporary, m/f, marriage because of job thing
- The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas – historical, m/f, heroine needs to marry for the betterment of her sisters
- A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy – historical, m/f, I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book
- A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe – historical, m/f, friends to lovers
- Bound by Marriage by Nalini Singh – contemporary, m/f, how dare no one tell me Nalini wrote a MOC??
- Accidentally Compromising a Duke by Stacy Reid – historical, m/f, heroine has to get out of marrying this Earl so she compromises herself with a Duke instead
- Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid – contemporary, m/f, heroine has to get married ASAP and to someone trustworthy
What are your favorites in this trope? Do you even like this trope? What’s your favorite reason for people to get married? Let me know!