by Barbara DeLeo
Hi Stella! Thanks so much for having me at Ex Libris. It’s great to be here. Today I thought I’d tackle a question that everyone from my mother to the girls in my book club has posed. The conversation goes something like this.......
Me: “A marriage of convenience.”
Mom/The Girls: (eyebrows raised, mouth open) A marriage of convenience? Are you serious?
So what is it with marriage of convenience stories in romance novels? The idea that a woman would enter into a loveless marriage—possibly forever—purely for some material or strategic gain? Why are intelligent readers hooked on a concept that should really be anathema to the independent, free thinking, powerful position that women who believe in love have in the world today? And they are hooked. You only need to read the bestseller lists in romance fiction to see that the marriage of convenience (MoC) storyline or “trope” is very much alive and as popular as ever.
Contract for Marriage, has a marriage of convenience, I’ve thought a lot about why MoCs are so popular. I’d love to hear what you think, but first I’ll give you a couple reasons why I love them.
We live in a time when women are told they can have and do anything, right? CEO of a large corporation and charity volunteer? No problem. Perfect mother to six children, president of the PTA and super best friend? Easy. Skilled lover, perfect hostess, ideal daughter-in-law? Any day of the week. A woman who deserves to be loved and treasured by someone who adores her? Absolutely.
I don’t know about you, but I find trying to have and do it all is freakin’ exhausting, so I write modern day fantasies that hopefully allow women a chance to step away from these pressures for a little while. While I write about real, identifiable people in reasonably relatable situations, there’s also an element of the fantasy, the fairytale, in what I write too. Whether it’s the fact that my hero’s a billionaire or the events take place aboard a cruise ship or on a tropical island, I want my readers to be transported to a world a little outside their own. And maybe a situation they’d like to imagine themselves experiencing in that fantasy —like a relationship that’s forbidden, a situation of forced proximity with a hot guy who’s emotionally out of reach but physically in their space 24/7. A marriage of convenience.
In Contract for Marriage, Christo and Ruby are embattled opponents trapped in a situation that only a marriage can free them from. Do they want each other? You bet! Will giving in to that desire cause them to lose everything they’ve always wanted? Absolutely. Will the sparks fly and passion burn? Right from page one.
So tell me, what you love about MoCs and why you think they’re so popular?
After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins. She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.
Pregnant and alone after her ex-lover’s death, magazine editor Ruby Fleming’s not about to give up her home to the man who broke her heart—until she discovers her mother left half of the estate to somebody else, and she realizes she’s trapped.
Property tycoon Christo Mantazis wants the one thing his riches can’t buy—the villa where his mother has lived and worked as housekeeper for forty years. That it’s the same house he was banished from after being caught making love to the owner’s irresistible daughter stirs up old memories, and now he wants her more than ever.