THE MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

 In Blog

“No one does a marriage of convenience like Balogh.”

 This is what Publishers Weekly said of ONLY A PROMISE back in 2015. I was a bit surprised at the time as I hadn’t realized I used the theme often enough to have earned such a comment. But actually I have! To name a few: I used it in THE TEMPORARY WIFE when the hero needed a wife to annoy his matchmaking father, with whom he had a bitter and longstanding feud, and the heroine desperately needed money to support her younger siblings. I used it in SLIGHTLY MARRIED, the first book of the Bedwyn series, when Aidan Bedwyn needed to fulfill a promise to a dying fellow officer to protect his sister and the sister needed a husband in a hurry so that she would not lose her inheritance and find herself unable to support her adopted children. I used it in FIRST COMES MARRIAGE, Book 1 of the Huxtable series, when the heroine dearly wanted to save her eldest sister from having to marry the hero and offered herself instead. I used it in THE ARRANGEMENT, Book 2 of the Survivors’ Club series, when the blind hero offered marriage to a young woman who was newly homeless and destitute aa a result of saving him from the matchmaking schemes of her aunt and cousin. There are more–my very first book, A MASKED DECEPTION, for example!

Once I realized that I did indeed write marriage of convenience stories with fair regularity, I asked myself why. There are actually a few  reasons.

For one, it is a way of getting the hero and heroine married early in the story so that the rest of the book can contain all the intimacies of their growing relationship without the restrictions that would otherwise be imposed upon them. I don’t have to contrive ways to bring them together in almost every scene. They live together! My books are almost all set in early 19thcentury Regency Britain when young ladies in particular did not have the freedom of movement and the privacy we take for granted today. Finding realistic reasons for them to be alone with their heroes, especially in ways that give time and opportunity for intimacy (even if only a kiss!), can be challenging. If the couple is married, then they can be alone together as often as they like (or as often as I want them to be).

Another reason is that the marriage of convenience is by its very nature contracted for reasons other than love. The couple has agreed to marry, but they have low or at best restricted expectations of the marriage. The most they can hope for is mutual respect and maybe some affection, though they do not always expect even that much. Sometimes they do not even like each other particularly well when they agree to marry. Occasionally they actively dislike each other, as in A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, for example. In almost all instances they do not know each other at all well at the start and have no great expectation that that will change. However, there is sometimes the misunderstanding among readers that a marriage of convenience must also be a sexless marriage. That is rarely the case. I think it is safe to say that it is never so in my books (I could be wrong—that has happened a time or two in my life). It not realistic. Historically at least, marriage was for procreation, and procreation does not happen without sex. To wander off along a slight tanget, I’ll mention another common misconception here. The plot of some stories rests upon the erroneous belief that the non-consummation of a marriage constituted grounds for an annulment. It did not! I believed so myself until a lawyer set me right.

I began the last paragraph by saying that I write marriage of convenience stories because such marriages are contracted for reasons other than love. That may not sound too logical coming from someone who writes love stories. But it is super-logical to me! When I marry a couple off early and get them in close proximity to each other and in close conflict with each other, amazing things happen, and I get to orchestrate those things. I can show the hero and heroine gradually getting to know each other, to respect each other, to like each other, to fall in love, to love with their whole hearts and souls. I can show them healing their own deepest pain and each other’s. I can even show them arguing and fighting! The marriage of convenience gives me all the opportunity I need to delve deep into character and explore a love relationship as it grows, often messily, and eventually deepens.

I do indeed write love stories. I would not write any other kind. Marriages in my books may start off as a convenience, but they always end up as deep love matches.

To one person who leaves a comment below by Tuesday, November 27,  I will send a signed copy of the two-in-one edition of THE TEMPORARY WIFE/A PROMISE OF SPRING or ONLY  A PROMISE (winner’s choice), all of which are marriage of convenience stories. Goodness, I really have written  a lot of them.

[The winner is Beverly Holmes]
Recent Posts
Showing 63 comments
  • Jill
    Reply

    I do adore this theme! I’m Slightly Married I loved watching Aidan and Eve fall for each other and realize that they were both exactly what the other needed. I find it amazing how you manage to use the same theme across multiple stories, yet always create a fresh and individual take for each couple.

  • Sandra Shapiro
    Reply

    I have just discovered your blog. It was well timed as I am just about to reread The Arrangement, again. I have very much enjoyed The Survivors Club series. What you say about being able to have your characters in close proximity really strikes a chord. I really enjoy your books because the situations don’t feel contrived. I look forward to reeading Someone To Trust.

  • Erica C
    Reply

    It is nice to see the characters come together and fall I love after being thrown together because of necessity.

  • joy marie
    Reply

    I love your storytelling.

  • Elizabeth La Dou
    Reply

    I so enjoy reading your stories and following a series of stories is even better. I always feel as if I know the characters!

  • Penny Martin-Fish
    Reply

    I love how your series reintroduce us to some of our favorite characters.

  • Sandra Deitz
    Reply

    I would love to win this book.
    I have been reading your books for years now.
    Thank you.

  • Kat Tolle Wiley
    Reply

    I have read everyone of your books and my favorite will always be Silent Melody and my favorite series will always be Survivors Club! Thank you Mary for sharing your wonderful stories with us! ❤️

  • Brenda
    Reply

    I can remember reading georgette heyer book marriage of convenience many years ago and that got me hooked on regency romances .That was fifty five years ago though I did not read many books whilst I was bringing the family up and working.Since I have retired(five years ago ) I have returned reading my favourite genre of book, regency,Georgian Victorian romance with happy endings being a must.I enjoy the build up of two people finding each other beyond their wildest dreams the emotion the passion the love the completeness .Good authors can pull it off and make it believable.I discovered your books in my local library five years ago and have read and kept all that I have purchased.My favourite series being the survivors.Thank you for refreshing my enjoyment of these books.

    • Mary Hart
      Reply

      Just finished reading : The Convenient Marriage, great story of heroine that seems to make the best of a bad lot, even though her sacrifice allows her elder sister to have the marraige she wants. as Mary has said it allows the heroine to grow in the story and then hero in some cases to be redeemed!

  • Lynn Edgar
    Reply

    I absolutely adore your books. You take character development to a new level!

  • Barbara
    Reply

    Love your books. And I love how you handle a marriage of convenience plot line- both the characters usually with their indecision and emotions. And I like how your characters evolve over the course of the book and mature.

  • Elizabeth Correia
    Reply

    I love all your books. I can’t remember A Christmas Promise, so I forgot that you had a couple who hated each other. I will need to re-read that one.

  • Julie Kennedy
    Reply

    Again, I love your books and your books brought me back to reading historical romance. You are an excellent story teller with a great grasp of life’s challenges and rewards. I read for happy endings. You do not disappoint.

  • Jeanne Shaw
    Reply

    My favorite series in romantic literature is your Survivors Club Series. I love to get close to characters who are able to rise above their wounds,( physical or psychological). I always root for the underdog. In a marriage of convenience, there must be at least one underdog of some sort.I struggle with them through their conflicts, and my spirit results in their final love. No wonder that I have been a huge Mary Balogh fan since finding her over 25 years ago. If there is one of her books that I have not read at least once, I look forward to finding it!

  • Lubnaa Jaumdally
    Reply

    Marriage of convenience is my favourite trope and I love A Christmas Promise!

  • Maggie
    Reply

    I was raised on Georgette Heyer, and my mother and I now love your books. So many marriages of convenience between the two of you! Love them all.

  • Suzanne
    Reply

    One of my favorite books of yours is The Ideal Wife — a marriage of convenience story. I love that the Earl thinks she is “a little brown mouse.” What a surprise he has coming! (I’m waiting impatiently for your new book!)

  • Carol
    Reply

    My favorite aspect of the marriage of convenience is that it allows your characters freedom from the pretenses and interferences of friends or family that are part of most courtships that result in betrothals. It allows both prinary characters the opportunity to explore their own feelings and those of their “convenient“ spouse. Although you’ve written This theme multiple times, the very nature of it frees you to create truly multifaceted, fascinating love stories.

  • Linda
    Reply

    There are so many reasons to go into a marriage of convenience, and it is fun to see how the characters work out the initial inconvenience! Thanks Mary, for the many hours of reading pleasure.

  • Cathy Stout
    Reply

    My favorite had to be Aiden and Eve, followed by Ralph and Chloe. Or maybe Vincent and Sophie! Oh who am I kidding? Your stories are all so well written I fall into the book and love them all!

  • Claudia
    Reply

    I love your books and Piblishers Weekly has it right — no one does that as well as you!!

  • Annette N
    Reply

    I like the marriage of convenience theme for all the reasons you mention. Most of all, I think it has a great deal of humor involved. If a couple is living together but know little about one another, there are always times when the two of them have mishaps of one kind or another.

    In every one of your books about unexpected consequences from such a marriage, I have loved the fish out of water situation as well as the slow and steady growth of love.

  • MELANIE BERRY
    Reply

    I think I like the marriage of convenience stories because it does give them more opportunities to really spend time getting to know each other and grow to care about each other. Some of my favorites of your books have been the marriage of convenience storylines, several of which you mention above.

  • Lisa H
    Reply

    Slightly Married was the first of your books I read…and definitely not the last! I like the marriage of convenience theme for many of the reasons you stated. Keep it up!

  • Chris Bails
    Reply

    I love your books. Love the Marriage of Convience storylines. Cause they have the same premise but different storylines. Keep writing them. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Alene Chernick
    Reply

    I have been reading your books for longer than I can remember. The Marriage of Convenience theme was truly prevalent in many eras.

  • Tricia Dellas
    Reply

    In a time where a marriage was a lifetime commitment a marriage of convenience was a much greater risk than it is now. I enjoy your stories so much even though I don’t believe they would work now when marriages often end before the first anniversary.

  • Theresa A Northcutt
    Reply

    since marriage just for love is a modern construct.. it is interesting to look at marriages made for other reasons.. and how you get them through all expectations to love.

  • Lisa Schultz
    Reply

    Mary, one of the things I like best about your writing is the growth of understanding between the characters and the development, not only of their relationship but their increased understanding of themselves and what they each bring to the partnership. The device of the Marriage of Convenience allows them to start at Zero knowledge, making the ending especially satisfying.

    A Promise Of Spring is one of my favorite of your stories, and I love that the H&H are atypical. The ending has never failed to bring me to tears. Mostly happy tears, but not entirely happy because that book culminates your Web Series and I don’t want to say goodbye to those characters! (Considering how many times I’ve re-read your books, maybe “au revior” would be more appropriate. I’ll try that next time.)

    And The Ideal Wife, prefacing as it does my all-time favorite book of yours, A Precious Jewel, is also so rich in nuance and growth of understanding; you bring your characters so fully to life that after the book is over, I find myself thinking about them and their future lives.

    I can’t thank you enough for all of the hours of reading pleasure you’ve given me.

  • Cindy A
    Reply

    I like this genre/trope because it is so different than what we “believe” we all do – fall in love, get married. Something new out of our experience, which makes it interesting. The Arrangement is one of my
    favorites.

  • Beverly Holmes
    Reply

    I believe I have a copy of almost every one of your books. I’ve had to go online for used copies of some older ones. I could use a new copy of A Temporary Wife, as I’ve worn mine down a bit rereading it so often. I’m not sure what there is about this story.
    Perhaps its the hero being so dang sure of what he’s doing. Or the heroine being so much like me! I tend to try to fix all the ills of my family as if I’m the only one who can! An autograph would be nice, too! Also love the Bedwyn series, especially when you finally got to Wulfric!!!!! Keep it up. I’ll buy till I die 😀😁😂

  • Laura Senn
    Reply

    Would love to read … Love reading about true love winning in the end… love lots of twist & turns… page turners…

  • Christine
    Reply

    I have read somewhere that love matches are a concept of the late 19th and the 20th century. So I’m really comfortable with the concept of a good written marriage of convenience, whatever the reasons are…

  • Becky
    Reply

    Thank you for all your amazing stores and the way you bring your characters to vivid life! The marriage of convenience premis is so interesting…now that I know more people who are researching their genealogy it makes me even more curious about the many hidden stories behind the simple facts we learn. My husband’s g-grandmother got on a ship in Italy and his g-grandfather boarded the same ship in Brazil and they landed at Ellis Island as a married couple (we saw the ship manifest!). Here are two people who didn’t even speak the same language meeting on a ship to America and they get married….how many possibilities are there for their story? The language barrier only makes it more interesting – but what could have made this young couple get married (body language aside!) What a way to start a whole new life in a new country! PLEASE keep writing – in my humble opinion you are the best historical fiction author! And thank you for adding love to your marriage of convenience stories! They get deliciously messy but end with the eternal hope of love fulfilled!

  • ML
    Reply

    I love that this blog post appeared on the same that the #RomBkLove hashtag on Twitter, discussing all sorts of romance themes this month, made “marriage of convenience” the theme for the day! Lots of great citations of your books as part of that #hashtag, and the tweets can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jNWdv9otUs5abPBTgNjveLaz39YqgcPpSmnU0wcB34U/edit?usp=sharing

  • Beverly Holmes
    Reply

    Just keep writing Mary! I have some newly purchased books sitting here ready to be read. Instead I’m rereading YOURS. I have my A List, B List, and C List of authors. You’re at the top of my A List. I’d rather reread yours than a new book from the C List 😁

  • Almyra Hornberger
    Reply

    I have always enjoyed the Marriage of Convenience books. I always find the working through of problems and getting acquainted and then falling in love to be a method to explore their fears, and hidden problems. I am a romantic, have seen so many marriages fall apart, so it is lovely to hope for happy ever after even in a novel.

  • Liz Hampton
    Reply

    I’m re-reading the Bedwyn series (I’m on Freya & Josh) and will take a break to read Under the Mistletoe again in a week or so. 🙂 I love them all! 🙂

  • Jeann Hines
    Reply

    I to read your books

  • Patti S
    Reply

    I truly love reading your books!

  • Becky Tatar
    Reply

    I enjoy your books so much, and I often find myself remembering certain scenes and going back to reread them, such as the scene where Kit takes Lauren to meet the Bedwyns in A Summer to Remember. You see how abominable the Bedwyns are to her, and smack, Lauren hits Freya with a great set down.

  • Jackie Phillips
    Reply

    I so enjoy reading your books. I have now been picking up republished books for my ereader.

  • Ana Ruiz
    Reply

    I do like this theme, in your books most of all. I enjoyed the Survivors series so much, but reading this entry made me want to read Slightly married again!

  • Mary T
    Reply

    Marrying for love alone is a fairly modern idea. I know of examples within my own family history where arranged marriages happened. Some turned out very well, others not so much. One of my favorite stories is SLIGHTLY MARRIED. I recently downloaded a copy on my kindle because my physical copy had gotten so dogeared from reading it so often.

  • Silvia M. G.
    Reply

    I love how the characters interact with each other after the marriage. All the thoughts, the fears, the hopes, the love. It’s amazing to read the changes on the relationship. One of my favorite books (Only Beloved) have all this and it’s wonderful.

  • Gina E.
    Reply

    I love all your books. The plots, the characters. There’s always love, hope, struggles, pain, but in the end there’s always happiness and love. I keep on re-reading them!
    Can’t wait for the next and next to come! Good Luck! You’re the BEST!

  • Margaret
    Reply

    Mary, like so many of your readers, I, too, love the way you deliver a perfect love story from a marriage of convenience. I haven’t read (yet) A Masked Deception or The Temporary Wife, but all the others you mentioned were books I truly loved, particularly The Arrangement, one of my favorites. I hope you’ll continue to use this delightful trope in many more books to come. Thank you for all the joy you bring.

  • Sara A Herrick
    Reply

    You’re right! You have written a lot of that scenario but you do it so well. I’ve also read most of the ones you’ve mentioned! Love your writing and I intend to continue writing everything you write.
    I hope I win the book!!!

  • Lynne
    Reply

    The marriage of convenience is one of my favorite types of love stories. Especially when they start out not liking each other. Thanks for the opportunity to win your work.

  • Ana S. Serrano
    Reply

    Hi, greetings from México 🇲🇽. I really love your books, you’re an amazing most romantic Writer. You made me cry with Tangled. Too much emotions. The Arrangement from the Survivors’ series is my favorite! Thank you!

  • Melanie Sanders Wible
    Reply

    I join all the comments in praising your work. Your stories make me understand more of our human condition. Thank you,

  • Agnes
    Reply

    I love the marriage of convenience situation, as I agree it is a wonderful basis for relationship development. Although the other similar trope, forced mariage, is also very popular in romances and provides the setting you mention (the uninterrupted, unchaperoned closeness and intimacy), the lack of choice/freedom is somewhat disturbing. Aat least in the marriage of convenience they both agree to the marriage and hope to gain at least something from it. I haven’t read the book with “active dislike” you mentioned but I suppose ther is still some motivation for them to get married. I like the idea that in this trope, the couple’s changing relationship changes their motivation/makes them realize the shallowness of some of their reasons. I agree that there usually has to be sex in this type of marriage, but I have to admit that the extreme version in A Masked Deception was a little disturbing to me. I prefer some care and consideration in the bedroom intimacy even if there isn’t much affection or love yet.

  • Karen K
    Reply

    I do enjoy this trope a lot. To see how the couple work out their challenges can be fun! I would not say they need always work out their differences because I believe couples can fall in love in spite of or even because of their differences.

  • Suzette Lowe
    Reply

    I think this type of story has always been my favorite……I do like the fact that you really see their relationship grow, sometimes very slowly and subtly. And yes, you are the master at this. Thank you!

  • Lorraine Hawkins
    Reply

    Marriages of convenience have always intrigued me. Would not we could make that happen in today’s world! I simply love your approaches to your beautiful story lines for after all they are in the end wonderful love stories in which to lose oneself and simply dream of possibilities🌸

  • Judy Owen
    Reply

    I have always enjoyed your “marriage of convenience” books (along with the other types, of course), as it enables the H and H to start from scratch, with us as well, and gradually develop a knowledge of each other, and then liking and love. That journey taken by two people, who are comparative strangers to each other at the beginning, is always interesting to see, in all its many forms. I always look forward to the next discovery!

  • Kathy Campbell
    Reply

    I really like reading “marriage of convenience ” stories and yours are the best. Thank you so much, Mary.

  • Diana Thomas
    Reply

    I love all your books and would love to have another one.

  • Mary VanSlyck
    Reply

    I cry at The Temporary Wife every time. I have all your books but new copies are fun.

  • CarolW
    Reply

    Love the marriage of convenience. It lets characters (and readers) learn each other in a way that’s different from any of the other tropes since they’re already coupled for life.

  • Kerry Vosswinkel
    Reply

    I love all of your books, but The Temporary Wife is one of my favorites.

  • Eleonor Silvia Matos Gomes
    Reply

    Hello!! I’m writing from São Paulo, Brazil and I love yours books. I really appreciate the wedding of convenience theme. The character Margareth Wells was very restricted. She could not untangle her braids in any situation. It was very frustrating. She could have tried to seduce him at least once. She and Richard could have been sexually happy at the wedding. I am very anxious about the story of Abigail and Captain Harry Westcott. Right now I’m reading Someone to Trust. Hugs to you and staff !!!

Leave a Comment