Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TBR Challenge: Catherine Bybee - Wife By Wednesday

Blake Harrison:
Rich, titled, and charming…and in need of a wife by Wednesday. Blake turns to Sam Elliot, who isn’t the businessman he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, beautiful and feisty with a voice men call 1-900 numbers to hear.
Samantha Elliot:
Owner of matchmaking firm Alliance and not on the marital menu…that is, until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. And there’s nothing indecent about this proposal. The money will really help with her family’s medical bills. All Samantha will need to do is keep her attraction to her new husband to herself and avoid his bed.
But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and sexy charm prove too difficult for Sam to resist. It was a marriage contract that planned for everything…except falling in love.

Comment: This book was recommended to me by one of my friends on GR. As this month's theme is exactly recommended reads I thought about picking up this one which seemed to be a sort of book you read fast and with a lighter tone. I was totally right and this proved to be one of those stories you read between darker or more serious ones.

This story features Samantha Elliott, she has a matchmaking firm and matches men and women looking for a wedding, for whatever reason. She plans to grow her company into the top. Her newest client is the wealthy Blake Harrison, a man who is also a British duke, so she knows publicity will be enormous should she be successful.
Blake Harrison has to be married in order not to lose the land that goes along with his dukedom. His father's will has said so clearly. Blake meets Sam and the more he thinks of her a the perfect wife, putting aside the other candidates' names. But what should be only a marriage of convenience develops into something more...

These kind of stories don't seem to be the ones most romance readers get nowadays. Still, I was curious over how the author would play this along and how it would work without looking silly or too much fantasy-like.
The main premise is a marriage of convenience which sounds pompous and unlikely to the kind of society we live in but maybe it's not that unfeasible, if one considers any circumstances that could make it the only option. Still, it's harder to accept it these days but the author uses this idea as a business deal and Sam had good reasons to accept it.
I think the author had to go the only path good enough to make this more believable and it added to part of the relationship's details, but deep down it still feels too weird on a book out of Harlequin, for instance.

Sam is a pragmatic woman and she works fairly and in order to help her younger sister Jordan, who is hospitalized. Her past makes sense and it's the explanation to her attempts to work hard and have an uncomplicated life once more. I think her past was a good tactic to shape her character but I think a deeper take into her life and emotions would suit this story a lot, I also think more pages wouldn't hurt either, for despite everything having a place to work, there's still a slight feel of rush and more pages with some more time delving into the character's path in life could accomplish a deeper meaning into everything, My opinion, of course.

Blake is powerful but he still feels he needs to follow his father's wishes because he wants to keep his estate not only for him but mostly out of his cousin's hands. I get the ideas and the reasons but one again, it's something a bit more hard to accept these days, even more so considering he was rich on his own. On the other hand, he tried to keep a tradition, something people these days don't seem to pay much attention to, so it was good to see how he wanted to keep things in a way that would respect the whole meaning of what it was like to be part of aristocracy and to maintain place he was fond of.

So, both characters were in unusual places in life, dealing with things they wanted to preserve so they joined forces to reach their goals. When one thinks about it, it can be justified so, not so unlikely as I imagined at the beginning. I guess this is me looking for clues where they weren't meant to be - did the author have this aim? - but overall, I must say, this worked for me in the end.

Sam and Blake's relationship started as a partnership but evolved into something more. I guess I would find it more romantic if they were a bit more reluctant to change the relationship, which I found was done too easily and too fast. It almost felt like this was staged all along and this was it, but I think some more surprise and sexual tension before they got together would suit this a lot, would make the romance more passionate and true. Once again, my opinion.

In the end, I gave this a good grade because I surely was entertained and I am curious to read the following story, at least. This one had many great elements, it had a satisfying conclusion and interesting details, although I confess it also has all the expected clichés in this sort of story, jealous exes, secrets and friend's advices and so on. Still, I enjoyed it and in the end that's what matters.
Grade: 8/10

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