Wednesday, December 28, 2011
A Convenient Marriage
Marcus, the Earl of Rule wants to marry into a well established and respected family and he decides that the eldest Winwood daughter, Elizabeth, would be a perfect wife. But Elizabeth is in love with a military man, Mr. Edward Herron, and a the middle daughter, Charlotte has no interest in marrying him, so the youngest lady of the family, Horatia, Horry, decides she should be the one to marry him. Marcus enjoys the very young Horry, her personable and outgoing nature and has no interest in marrying someone who doesn't want to marry him. They both agree that they will stay out of each other's business and have a marriage of convenience even while both their families are excited at the joining of their two families. Their marriage is a grand affair and shortly after Marcus is called upon to take care of some financial matters as gambling runs in their blood and Horry's brother, Viscount Pelham, has run up a lot of debts. Marcus is very easy going and has no problem shelling out money for Pel or to cover the gambling debts that Horry soon begins to run up as well.
But there is one matter that Marcus is not lax about and that is Horry's growing friendship with Lord Robert Lethbridge. Lethbridge had once run off with Marcus' sister and while he will not tell the tale to Horry he makes it clear that she must end the friendship. Horry knows that Marcus has his own special friendship with Lady Massey and has no intention of giving up a friendship that means much to her simply to please who husband since they had promised not to interfere in each other's lives. Lethbridge is playing his own game to get back at Marcus and he knows exactly how to get under Horry's skin and convince her she desires his friendship. When things go awry though Lethbridge is forced to to resort to more dastardly means and Horry is terrified that Marcus will find out and turn to Lady Massey. But Marcus is one step ahead of Horry and of course comes to save the day and much mayhem ensues before she discovers the truth. They both realize that they want more than a marriage of convenience because they are in love with each other.
Horatia was certainly very confident and she appreciated her own failings and I loved that she was willing to marry someone to ensure that her sister made a love match, even if she admitted that she was getting a good deal. The problem with Horry was that she was incredibly young, 17, and while many romance novel heroines are quite young, she acted like a 17 year old in many ways. Her outgoing nature led her to become kind of a laughing stock, a source of rather mean amusement, for the rest of the ton and she did not even mind or think that her actions were inappropriate. She had a large gambling problem and seemed to have no respect for money or for common sense really. Her insistence on befriending Lethbridge also came across as childish, because even though she didn't know why Marcus did not appraise her of his reasons, it just made no sense that he would want her friendship unless their were ulterior motives and she just came across as incredibly naive for falling for it. Her immaturity was contrasted, rather harshly in my opinion, with Marcus' own 35 years.
Marcus was almost a non-entity in the book and all I really could figure out about him was that he didn't seem to have any problems with his wife gambling away his fortune, which bothered me, and was just very blase about everything. I personally do not appreciate this attitude and wanted him to show some actual emotion about something. He also had a knack for figuring out what was going on very quickly and always was one step ahead of everyone else. He definitely felt the need to protect his young wife which was an admirable quality and he looked out for his sister's reputation. Their relationship was hard to pin down because they spent almost no time together and I really could not figure out what made them each decide/ realize they were in love with the other. Their marriage seemed to be them just co-existing together and not really being engaged in a relationship. The writing was very peppy and fast but it was a very long novel and there were very long stretched told from the point of view of third parties that did not really have much to do with the romance and it got old quickly.
Rating: A peppy read but the characters were not suited for each other and that was only part of the reason their relationship was not well developed.