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The Convenient Bride Collection: 9 Romances…

The Convenient Bride Collection: 9 Romances Grow from Marriage…

by Amanda Barratt (Contributor)

Other authors: Andrea Boeshaar (Contributor), Mona Hodgson (Contributor), Melissa Jagears (Contributor), Maureen Lang (Contributor), Gabrielle Meyer (Contributor)3 more, Jennifer Uhlarik (Contributor), Erica Vetsch (Contributor), Renee Yancy (Contributor)

Series: Barbour Bride Collection, Unexpected Brides ("Blinded by Love", # 3.5)

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Where I got the book: given to me by one of the authors, Maureen Lang, who’s a good friend. She dedicated her story to me because I helped her through a bad day while she was writing it!

Ah, the marriage of convenience trope. It’s delightfully predictable: the marriage is necessitated by some external circumstance, and both parties agree that it’s going to be in name only—none of that bedroom stuff. Usually this means that poor Mr. Wonderful get the couch while Mrs. Wonderful has the bed, because the men are gentlemen. Time passes, stuff happens, the married couple become friends, obstacles are thrown in their path and overcome, True Love blossoms, and we usually end with one or both of them suggesting it’s time to make the marriage a “real” one. Marriages of convenience are a boon to Christian writers and those unwilling to allow their characters the freedom to be together alone when it wouldn’t otherwise be historically accurate—you can legitimately put your protagonists together alone in close proximity, generating all those lovely, awkward scenes without the potential for ruining your heroine’s reputation.

After reading this collection of stories, I’m tempted to try one myself. As always in a compendium I had my preferences—the ones where the heroine isn’t married because she’s plain always annoy me a bit from the outset, because I don’t like seeing a woman’s worth calculated in terms of her appearance, but there weren’t so many of those. I think my out and out favorite was Erica Vetsch’s A Bride For Bear, a sparkling treatment of the marriage-of-convenience-with-children-thrown-in trope. I also liked Melissa Jagears’s Blinded By Love (despite the plain heroine) because so much of it was from the viewpoint of the awkward, middle-aged hero, and Maureen Lang’s Bonnets and Bees because the heroine is a businesswoman, different shades of Christianity are brought in, and the egalitarian compromise at the end is very satisfying.

All in all I was highly tickled by the different ways the authors had thought up to put their couples into marriages of convenience and bring them to the HEA. I dived into this one soon after I’d received it simply because I needed some light entertainment, and that’s exactly what I got. The paperback’s pretty too, with deckled edges and artworked cover flaps, although the latter tended to get in my way when I was reading one-handed. On the other hand, a pretty compendium makes a good gift, so the extra decoration was no doubt a smart move on the part of the publisher.

I think this compendium hits its spot in the market nicely—it’ll please readers looking for undemanding entertainment, and gives them a chance to try out authors who are new to them. The settings range across America, from California through the Midwest to New York City, and the time periods are generally mid- to late-1800s. The spiritual elements are worked in naturally and are fairly low-key, and the overall effect is a light and pleasant read with plenty of humorous moments. ( )
  JaneSteen | Aug 9, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barratt, AmandaContributorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boeshaar, AndreaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hodgson, MonaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jagears, MelissaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lang, MaureenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meyer, GabrielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Uhlarik, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vetsch, EricaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yancy, ReneeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Sometimes marriage is a must, not a desire....

Marriage is necessary for the nine very different couples of The Convenient Brides Collection, whose dire circumstances are demanding they secure spouses—and soon.

Join the convenient brides on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by—from a ranch in California… to the rugged mountains of Colorado… to a steamship on the Mississippi… to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail… to high society of New York City.
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"Sometimes marriage is a must, not a desire... Marriage is necessary for the nine very different couples of 'The convenient brides collection,' whose dire circumstances are demanding they secure spouses--and soon. Join the convenient brides on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by--from a ranch in California...to the rugged mountains of Colorado...to a steamship on the Mississippi...to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail...to high society of New York City.… (more)

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