When I look at the books I’ve written, I can see that I’m seriously in love with the marriage of convenience trope. I think the main reason I love the idea so much is that it often brings the hero and heroine together more quickly than either party is really comfortable with. Maybe the lovers don’t even know each other? Maybe they actively dislike one another? Or, and this is my favorite, maybe they say they’re marrying for convenience, but one of them is really in love.
That’s the sort of delicious tension that keeps me turning pages.
I also enjoy how the convenience element often becomes inconvenient rather quickly.
Perhaps neither partner considered just how awkward their loveless union would turn out to be? And those promises the couples sometimes make—when they say the other partner can continue living their life without interference? That doesn’t sound so great when one of them starts to think the other seems appealing. Sure, maybe the heroine needed to marry to save her family from destitution, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to tolerate a heartless rake who has plans to keep on raking.
Although contemporary romances featuring arranged marriages can be fun, the trope is particularly effective in historical novels, since many of the alternatives people had—especially women—were pretty grim.
An excellent example of one of the earliest convenient marriages is Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth can’t believe her friend would stoop to marrying Mr. Collins. But for Charlotte, being a spinster is clearly a fate worse than spending the rest of her life with a man she does not respect or like.
It’s interesting to imagine what would have happened if rich, attractive suitors hadn’t come along for Lizzy Bennett and her sister, Jane. When you consider that gently bred women with no skill set might very well be turned out into the street, a marriage of convenience takes on a whole new meaning: survival.
What do you think? If marrying Mr. Collins was all that stood between you and destitution, would you do it? I’m honestly not sure what I would do. But I do know that I love putting my characters in those situations and seeing what happens!
About The Arrangement
A trio of sizzling historical romances that prove passion is timeless . . .
Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day
Justin, the Marquess of Fontaine, and Lady Sophie Milton-Riley are completely ill-suited to one another. But they will have to prove it in order to end their mothers’ insistence that they should marry. Yet the more they attempt to demonstrate how wrong their union would be, the more surprisingly, irresistibly right things feel.
THE DUKE’S TREASURE by Minerva Spencer
Plain, prickly Josephine Loman has loved Beaumont Halliwell, the Fifth Duke of Wroxton, since the first time she saw him. But the most beautiful man she’s ever met had eyes only for Jo’s erstwhile friend, who betrayed Beau’s trust by marrying his brother. Beau hasn’t been home in years, but when his brother dies in an accident, he must marry to save the impoverished dukedom. And Jo is the overlooked heiress who will turn his world upside down.
THE INCONVENIENT COUNTESS by Kristin Vayden
As the eldest in a poverty-stricken family of daughters, Miss Diana Katherine Lambson’s only option is a marriage of convenience. Her only prospect is a rogue with a miserable reputation. Her only true desire: freedom. And that is exactly what Charles Brook, Earl of Barrington, is willing to offer, in return for the respectability their union will give him. He will even provide Diana with a contract. But does she dare entrust her future to a scoundrel? Does she dare not to?
About the Author
Minerva Spencer was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has lived in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Mexico. After receiving her master’s degree in Latin American history from the University of Houston, she taught American history for five years before going to law school. She was a prosecutor and labor lawyer before purchasing a bed-and-breakfast in Taos, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband and dozens of rescue animals. Visit her online at minervaspencer.com and at the social platforms below.