Due to the difference between Marriage of Convenience in an historical and contemporary setting, I'm going to discuss them separately. But this trope remains quite popular and is seen as often as many others in the Mills and Boon lines.
Marriage of Convenience is often used in historical and regency novels as it was a common thing to do in these times. Often, the heroine may be forced into a marriage of convenience in order to protect or secure herself. Women didn't have the rights they do now in those days and remaining unmarried often posed difficulty. Especially during the regency period (late 1700s to early 1800s). Jane Austen, contemporary at this time, did not use Marriage of Convenience for her leading hero and heroine, rather allowed them to fall in love on their own terms. But as time goes on and we reach the early 1900s and post-war world, women began to have more rights and often remained unmarried longer.
Before you use this trope in your historical novel, consider whether or not it is necessary that your characters marry before they fall in love. If they need protection, they're more likely to agree to a marriage of convenience. If they are self-sufficient, they may not.
Marriage of Convenience is still popular in a contemporary setting too, however, probably for different reasons. A woman is more unlikely to marry a man for protection in the modern world than she was a few hundred years ago. And this may or may not be where you use a trope such as Accidental Pregnancy.
Accidental Pregnancy and Marriage of Convenience work very well together for obvious reasons. The hero and heroine fall pregnant and therefore decide to get married, even though they don't yet love each other. This forms the basis of your story and gives your characters something to fight for. However, you don't need to use accidental pregnancy with a Marriage of Convenience as she may have other reasons for entering into the union.
As with all decisions you character makes, you need to ask yourself why is your hero and heroine entering a marriage of convenience? Reasons may be because of a pregnancy or money or security in either a contemporary or historical setting.
Marriage of Convenience Stories
Captive of Sin by Anna Campbell
Set in the 1820s, Charise is on the run from her abusive step-brothers who wish to force her into a marriage in order to steal her inheritance. Hiding in the stables, she meets Gideon who takes her under his protection to help her escape her brothers. When he learns the truth of her predicament, Gideon offers to marry Charise in order to save her from her step-brothers, who remain her legal guardians until her birthday in a few weeks time. If Charise marries Gideon, her fortune is his and safe from her brothers. Therefore, she agrees to his offer in order to protect herself.
There is a lot more going on in this beautiful story and it is not only a Marriage of Convenience romance, but Charise and Gideon's motives and actions are clear and contemporary with the time period.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Another historical/time travel novel set in the 1740s, Claire is forced into a Marriage of Convenience with the gorgeous Scot, Jamie, in order to protect her from the evil clutches of red-coat Jack Randall. As a British citizen, Claire is expected to submit to the redcoats where she's bound to be mistreated by the evil army officer, so the clan form a plan to marry Claire to Jamie, therefore making her a Scottish citizen and therefore unobligated to submit to the will of the British.
There are many other problems faced in this novel, but Jamie and Claire's marriage of convenience is very understandable and contemporary to the time, forming the foundation for an epic love story.
Tempted by the Wrong Twin by Rachel Bailey
This is an example of a Marriage of Convenience tied to an Accidental Pregnancy. When Harper discovers she's pregnant not to her boss as she originally thought, but to his twin brother Nate, she's surprised by his immediate decision to marry her. But to Nate, it's the right thing to do. And as Harper wishes for the best for her unborn baby, she agrees to marry Nate for the sake of their child.
This truly is a lovely story as Nate and Harper grow to know and love each other while overcoming their internal conflict and expecting a baby.
Gabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts
A different Marriage of Convenience story again, heavily pregnant Laura finds herself rescued from a car accident by Gabriel while fleeing her former in-laws ... who want custody of her baby! When discovering this, Gabriel offers to marry Laura and she enters this marriage of convenience in order to save her child from her in-laws.
In this contemporary story, Gabriel's kindness and offer is understandable, as is Laura's acceptance as she wants to protect both herself and her baby from her rich, influential former in-laws.
So I hope that helps settle some facts about Marriage of Convenience.
Thank you for stopping by.
Until next Trope Tuesday,
Rachel is a writer of romantic fiction who enjoys discussing tropes. This blog thread will focus on identifying different tropes of romance fiction, as well as other crime, thriller, and fantasy tropes. Rachel will share her thoughts on each trope, discuss their vital elements, and discuss books featuring each trope.