Marriage of Inconvenience

Marriage of Inconvenience - Cheryl Bolen For me, it was only an okay read. Too much cliché.

Rebecca Peabody is a bluestocking heroine, who secretly writes a political column under a pen name. Being a colonist, she naturally is a reformer. Unfortunately, she lives with her older sister who is married to a conservative aristocrat which dampens her style. John Compton, Earl of Aynsley, the hero is a politician and of course also a reformer. Only he is more pragmatic about it and knows, the world cannot change in 24 hours or even a year. He works towards a long term solution to society's ills. He is also a proud Earl and widower with seven children.

Both, Rebecca and John believe to enter a MOC. Rebecca keeps her penmanship a secret from John because she fears that he will forbid her to write and as a Christian woman who just promised to obey her husband, she decides not to tell for now. He fairly early knows that Rebecca is the columnist he admires.

Early in their marriage, both learn to compromise, however he knows, she keeps a secret from him and is rather upset. It does not occur to him to talk to her. His first marriage had also been a marriage of convenience and his late wife had been manipulative and he has vowed not to live his life under the cat’s paw, so to speak.

They begin to get to know each other better and consider each other best friends. He feels less lonely, believing he found his soul mate, if only she would confide in him. She wants reforms faster and tells him what he does is wrong. It is hard to see child labor in a positive light and we certainly all can agree with Rebecca that child labor is wrong. However, and there is always a however, John is also right when he says that the earnings the child brings home, may well be the only income the family has. He pays the children the same amount as he would pay an adult and believes is doing the right thing.

Throw into the mix a daughter who sees her step mother as an interloper, home life may not be lonely anymore for John and Rebecca may not be the spinster aunt anymore but it is not peaceful of quite.

When the youngest child becomes very ill, a betrayal of John’s secret happens and he assumes of course that it had to be Rebecca. The reader will know fairly quickly who betrayed who, indeed when the matter is brought up first, the nature of the secret and where/how it is kept, will tell the reader at that point already that something is going to go wrong here.

The end was rather rushed, the revelation of love for each other, finding the culprit separately and another secret of Rebecca’s or better an omission as well as John's epiphany re child labor and what he does about it; all on the last few pages before the epilogue.