A marriage of convenience is always an intriguing premise and this compilation shows several reasons why those might have occurred. I've always wondered if I could've entered into one myself... Each of these stories has a different voice, as they are written by different authors and it's hard for me to choose a favorite because they are so unique and so much fun.
The reader is treated to a variety of reasons for such a marriage, ranging from gaining an inheritance, to gaining custody of relatives, to being protected, to joining as enemies. I always think of marriages of convenience to be made as a very last, desperate resort, and while that may be the case, things have a way of working out in interesting ways. Each of these stories is sweet and feels complete, although they are short. I really enjoyed each premise and setting--England, out West, and New York--and the characters are really easy to like, as they all inspired me to cheer them on. It's fun how some are snappy, some are gentle, and some are jumpy at the thought of marriage, yet still go through with it. I love how each of them found love and the process of how that finally comes about is so enjoyable. This is a great collection of sweet, historical stories.
Content: mild romance (kissing).
*I received a copy through the publisher, which did not affect my opinions in any way.*
This is a really fun collection! I loved the way each of the four stories focuses on a match that was made accidentally, but each of the couples involved eventually fall in love. I'm going to break them down individually because the description of the book doesn't talk about each one individually.
First Up is Ashbrook Abby by Heather Chapman. This one is about Kate, she's an orphan living with her guardian Mr Notley. Kate's parents died suddenly in a storm and she's been living without them for the last year. She'd also love to live in her cottage that she'd lived in with her parents but she can't do that until she's married. Mr Notley has a couple of nephews that he's trying to decide between to leave his own estate to. He asks them to come for a visit and that's when he tells Ambrose that there's no way he'll ever be considered to inherit Ashbrook Abby unless he marries. Ambrose quickly decides that his best chance to get Ashbrook Abby is to marry Kate, it will solve both of their problems.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I loved watching the changes in Ambrose in this one. He goes from being waited on by others to living in Kate's cottage and having to do things for himself. I really loved the ending and the choice that Ambrose makes in the end. So cute!
Next is First Comes Marriage by Paula Kremser. In this one we meet Letty, she's been caring for her niece and nephew, Mae and George, since her sister and brother-in-law died. She's kind of afraid because her brother-in-law's uncle has now had himself decreed by the court as their guardian and she doesn't feel that he would be the best option. Enter her brother-in-law's brother Daniel. He got to Letty as quickly as he could from India, he also would like to care for the children, and he knows that there is no way his uncle and aunt should have them. When he discovers that the likely reason his uncle and aunt would win in a court hearing is that they are married and both Letty and Daniel are single, there's only one thing to do. Get married.
I liked this one too! I liked both Letty and John and the way they both were willing to sacrifice their futures and pretty much everything else for their niece and nephew. I liked the way they both cared for each other but were not willing to say anything to the other because of fear.
Then there's The Price of Her Heart by Mandi Ellsworth. This one's set in Price, Utah in the 1890's. Faye accidentally saw something she shouldn't have and now she has criminals on her tail. Her family sends her away to Utah for her protection and they marry her off to a lawman. Geoffrey has been hoping to be a Texas Ranger, but he's deputy in Price with seemingly no chance to achieve his dream. Until Faye's uncle, a Texas Ranger, asks Geoffrey to marry his niece and protect her.
This one was so much fun! I loved Faye, I loved her spunk! Even though she has these terrible criminals after her, she wants to get married and when she falls in love with her husband, she wants him to care for her too. I loved the way she was trying to get him to hold her by withholding his pillows, these parts were so funny! Especially how Geoffrey was so clueless. I loved the ending of this one, so sweet!
And last, but not least is Beauty and the Beholder by Ashtyn Newbold. Blind man Percy Wellington is tricked into getting married by his cousin to Fanny Clarke. He's told how quiet and shy Fanny is and that she'd be happy to care for the blind man who has been left by all of his servants for his unkindness. Little does he know Fanny is quite the opposite.
If I had to pick a favorite out of the four stories it might be this one. I loved the way that Percy was so hardened in the beginning but under Fanny's influence he begins to change to a kinder version of himself. I loved that this one included a bit of a mystery in it that I didn't even see coming. And Fanny is such a fun character.
This whole book is so cute! I loved the whole thing!
Unexpected Love was a fun read. It consisted of four stories all revolving around marriages of convenience. In each story, there was a good reason for the marriage (or at least, someone thought so). In some cases, it was the idea of one of the ones to be married, and in others, the idea was someone else’s. All of the marriages were meant to help the lives of those in it, or other loved ones.
In a sense, all the stories were predictable. There was going to be a marriage of two virtual strangers, and through their experiences together (for better or worse), they were going to change, grow, and fall in love. I kind of hoped that in one of them, the love wouldn’t happen, and someone else would come in to save the day. Regardless of that, all of the matches ended up being good ones, even though at first they may not have seemed so.
It was really fun to read four stories in one book. They were all so different, and the characters diverse. Each character had suffered some sort of loss, or was enduring a trial that may never go away. Through the marriages, though rocky or awkward at first, many of the characters found ways to heal or to find joy again.
The third story: The Price of Her Heart, was my favorite because it was absolutely hysterical. I laughed out loud over and over again. I must admit, though, that all of the stories were endearing in their own way, and I was always glad that the two found ways to love each other, flaws and all.
If you love love stories, this book is for you. Be prepared to giggle, blush, and even wipe a tear or two away.
Each of the stories in this anthology focuses on a marriage of convenience. But beyond that each story is really different. The first story is about Kate and Ambrose who decide to marry for mutual benefit. Kate needs to marry in order to return to her beloved cottage. Ambrose needs to marry in order to return himself to his uncle's good graces and have a chance to inherit Ashbrook Abbey. But what neither of them expects is to fall in love, especially as Ambrose is a bit of a spoiled fellow. I enjoyed watching both Kate and especially Ambrose change as they got to know and appreciate each other. The only problem I have with short novellas like this is the story is over before you really, fully get to appreciate the characters.
The second story revolves around Letty and Daniel (despite what the blurb on the back says is Mae and David) who marry in order to save their niece and nephew from being taken away by Daniel's uncle. But the two clash at first, but they find their common ground in the children. But when Daniel's uncle threatens to prove their marriage is a fraud, the two are forced to pretend they're in love. But before long the pretense doesn't feel so much like a pretense. It was fun to see Letty and Daniel get past their negative first impressions and start to admire each other.
Faye and Geoffrey meet under rather unusual circumstances. Faye has been trying to keep ahead of the men she saw commit murder, but hasn't been able to shake them. So her uncle arranges for her to marry Geoffrey. Faye is a rather straight forward woman who feels like she has a curse of good intentions and bad timing. Geoffrey doesn't really care who Faye is as long as he gets a chance to join the rangers, which Faye's uncle can arrange. But things don't exactly go according to plan. Faye makes for a rather entertaining narrator.
In the last story, Percy and Fanny get married, but don't really like each other at first. Percy's blind about which he is rather bitter. Fanny has facial scars that bother her. Add to that a conniving cousin, an attractive groundskeeper, and a valuable harp, and Percy doesn't know what to think about the changes in his life. A nice twist on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
All in all, this book was a nice read with some fun stories in it.
I love reading marriage of convenience stories. In this book, you get four stories by four different authors. The stories are novella in length, which is just perfect when you are looking for a quick fix. (Which I didn't do. I read one right after the other- sort of like a binge and felt oh so satisfied after!) Each of these stories are well done and I loved them all. While they are all marriage of convenience stories, each felt different and unique. The settings were varied and ranged from England to New York City and the western frontier. The characters were fantastic. I had no problem settling in with each one and letting the movies play out in my head. Sometimes marriage of convenience stories can feel rushed, especially in a novella, but I didn't feel way that with any of these. This was such a fun book and I'm so glad I had the chance to read and review it!
The book includes the following stories:
Ashbrook Abbey by Heather Chapman
First Comes Marriage by Paula Kremser
The Price of Her Heart by Mandi Ellsworth
Beauty and the Beholder by Ashtyn Newbold
- I received a copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.
This book contains four very fun short stories. I absolutely loved reading every single one of them, They are all about love that happens unexpectedly, as the title indicates :) I love how the different authors switched around from the different perspectives of the different characters. So many times I was just thinking, if only they knew what the other person was thinking. Very fun read and I will definitely be reading it again!
Such a fun anthology! I am a huge regency fan and love the anthology trend. This collection did not disappoint! Four short stories of marrying out of need instead of love and letting the love grow.
Book #1: Ashbrook Abbey is exactly why I love regency era writing. I am so excited about Heather Chapman's writing with her fresh characters and plot lines. She takes regency and makes it feel new but with the same romantic flair. Loved the heroine, Kate, and the fun development of Ambrose as he found himself through his marriage. Five stars for this one.
Book #2: First Comes Marriage started off great with some new ideas and a plot line with potential but then fell a little flat for me in the end. The climax was lame and the end was very abrupt. It was a very sweet story though that still pulled at heartstrings and kept me reading until the end. Four stars.
Book #3: The Price of Her Heart was my least favorite in the collection. It felt a little bit out of place being a western and I could not get over the grammar. I know that in the wild west there is a stereotype for terrible grammar, but this felt forced and unnatural. Also, the seriousness of the plot line with the lighthearted way it was presented did not seem to fit well. I'm trying to figure out this author's style, and maybe she is too. Worth the read, but a little hard to get through for me. Three stars.
Book #4: Beauty and the Beholder was great! Ashtyn Newbold definitely has a wonderful niche in the regency genre. Like Chapman, she has new, fun, ideas that suck you in and keep you there to the end. Her love story unfolded so nicely and I really loved her character choices. Again, the ending felt a little choppy with a plot twist that didn't quite flow as well as I thought it could have, but still wonderful. Five stars for her.
Great anthology with budding authors that have great potential and talent. Can't wait for more from all of them!