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Friday, November 16, 2012

Today's Special - - Susanna Fraser


Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.
Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still tends to give her heroines great hair.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, watches Chopped, Castle, and The Legend of Korra, and cooks her way through an ever-growing cookbook collection.  Find Susanna online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook.  

Please welcome Susanna to The Romance Dish!




Marriages of Convenience

My new historical romance, An Infamous Marriage, is a marriage of convenience story. The hero, Jack Armstrong, meets the heroine, Elizabeth Hamilton, as her first husband, who happens to be Jack’s childhood best friend, lies dying. They marry because in her newly widowed state she is homeless and penniless, because he needs a caretaker for his ailing mother while he serves in the Army, and above all because it was her first husband’s dying wish.

I love a marriage of convenience setup in a historical because of the constraints and challenges it sets for the hero and heroine. They may hardly know each other, but they’re stuck together for life, since divorce is all but impossible to obtain. Jack and Elizabeth begin their marriage with no expectations of happiness whatsoever--only a determination to do their duty. They have a long journey ahead of them to find love together, but during their first dinner together as husband and wife, they discover themselves capable of sharing laughter:

“Was there someone else?” she asked. “Someone you wanted to carry to Scotland?”

“What would be the point of telling you if there was?” he snapped. “It can’t be, now.”

She sighed. None of this was his fault, but she couldn’t help envisioning some perfect, golden-haired young beauty, perhaps a general’s daughter, who had danced with Colonel Armstrong and dreamed of becoming his bride. “No. But if somewhere there is a lady who sees me as an enemy for ruining her hopes, I should like to be forewarned.”

“Fair enough.” He nodded curtly. “There was no one. No one I could marry, at least.”

Elizabeth chose not to press for more details on just what sort of women he couldn’t marry. No one expected men to be chaste before marriage. Even gentle, devout Giles hadn’t quite been a virgin.

But Jack seemed to misinterpret her silence, for he shook his head and blew out a frustrated breath. “Elizabeth,” he said gruffly, “we’ll make do. There have been worse-suited couples.”

“I hope so.” From their time together so far, she doubted it.

“Of course there have,” he said bracingly. “Why, look at the Prince of Wales.”

She smiled. The expression felt rusty from disuse. “Touché.”

“Or Henry VIII.”

Now Elizabeth couldn’t hold back a giggle. “And which wife?”

“All of them, I think. For a man who married six times, he didn’t have much of a knack for the state, did he? Though Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard had the worst of it.”

She took a sip of her wine, eying him over the glass’s brim. “I do hope you prove a better husband than Henry,” she said. “I should hate to lose my head.”

He laughed, and she with him. When their merriment had passed, he watched her with greater warmth than she had yet seen from him. Elizabeth felt a stirring of something—not desire, it was too soon for desire—but of affection, of liking. She could see now why Giles had been his friend.

What about you, dear readers? Do you enjoy marriage of convenience stories? Which one is your favorite?

I’ll be giving one copy of An Infamous Marriage to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of the tour I'll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's Books to one commenter on the tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.

I look forward to reading and responding to your comments, but since I live on the West Coast and have an 8-5 day job, I won’t be able to check in till my evening.


Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he's back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife's love may be the greatest battle he's faced yet.

37 comments:

  1. Oh I have got to read this, I want to see what kind of mischief he got into that ticked her off so bad. I do love a feisty heroine.

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    1. It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? This one is high on my tbr!

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  2. I do like marriage of convenience stories. I think it's because you see how this couple will do in marriage, something other stories don't have. Some of my favorites are Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas and Mrs Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Devil in Winter is one of my favorite Kleypas books. A wonderful marriage of convenience story!

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  3. This seems like a very steamy read, it's a typical plot but I'm pretty sure there will be some interesting twists in it. I definitely would want to read this.

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    1. I love a book with interesting twists. The reviews for this one have been very good!

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  4. I do like this storyline and one of my favorite marriage of convenience books is "Nobody's Baby But Mine" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Thanks for the giveaway! suz_glo(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. Novels about a marriage of convenience are my absolute favorite and "An Infamous Marriage" sounds great. The humor from the excerpt makes me laugh. I'm looking forward to reading this and have put it on my Wish List.

    I would say that "To Sir Phillip With Love" by Julia Quinn is a marriage of convenience novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. The humor with which Ms. Quinn peppers her novels makes it quite memorable.

    Thanks for sharing the excerpt and for this fantastic giveaway!

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

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    1. To Sir Phillip With Love is a great example. I loved that book!

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  6. AIM sounds like it is a great story! I like a heroine with spunk and it seems like the hero in this story has met his match...in wits and in love. Please don't enter me in the draw(even though I'd love a copy of this book), but I don't have a Kindle or Nook and prefer not to download a novel onto my computer. Congrats on the release of AIM!!!

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    1. I like a spunky heroine too, Deb. Sounds like this match is going to be fun! :)

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  7. I'm also a fan of the marriage of convenience trope in historical romance. I think it's trickier to make it believable in contemporaries. Carla Kelly and Mary Balogh have both used the trope several times to wonderful effect. Jo Beverley's Forbidden Magic is also a favorite, and more recently I loved Sherri Thomas's Ravishing the Heiress.

    An Infamous Mariage sounds like a terrific read.

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    1. I think it's trickier to make it believable in contemporaries

      I agree, Janga though I think Christina Dodd did a great job with this trope in Revenge at Bella Terra, the second book in her contemporary-romantic suspense Bella Terra Deception series.

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  8. Hi, Susanna! I want to read AN INFAMOUS MARRIAGE. It sounds like a great and drool worthy book with Historical Notes added to it in the back!

    I love marriage of convenience stories. I can't think of any except the ones already listed except for Gone With The Wind when Scarlett finally marries Rhett for his money. We all know how that one turned out.

    kscathy AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. except for Gone With The Wind when Scarlett finally marries Rhett for his money. We all know how that one turned out.

      LOL! Too true, Cathy! Not exactly a happy ending with that one.

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  9. Sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the new release! I do enjoy MoC stories! I definitely feel like the hero and heroine *have* to get to know each other well since they are stuck :)

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    1. True, Erin. I also like the fact that in many MoC stories, they become friends first and build that solid foundation for their marriage.

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  10. Hello and welcome, Susanna! I love the sound of AN INFAMOUS MARRIAGE. Honestly, you had me at: "The hero, Jack Armstrong..." I love the name Jack!

    I love the marriage of convenience theme. I've read so many good ones that I can't name one favorite!

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    1. I was waiting for you to weigh in on the hero's name, Andrea. ;-)

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  11. I love marriage of convenience stories because they usually never start out as convenient -- I enjoy how each author figures out a way for the hero and heroine to overcome their "in"convenient start and come to love each other.

    - khriscc (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  12. I love marriage of convenience stories, but I really don't have a favorite. I love the way they come together in the end for the happy ever after. I have been seeing your book around and it sounds really good, would love to read it.

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  13. I always enjoy stories featuring couples in a marriage of convenience. It's lovely to see them make the best of a situation and then finding happiness despite the rough beginning. I'm looking forward to reading An Infamous Marriage, it sounds wonderful.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  14. marriage of convenience? sure, i love to see how their relationship develope into real love on both side

    smile_1773 at yahoo dot com

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  15. Thanks for all the comments and the great ideas for marriage of convenience stories--I've read about half the ones y'all list, so you've given me some great additions for my own TBR pile. :-)

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    1. Thanks for popping in, Susanna! Hope your work day wasn't too long or tiring.

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  16. I don't have an absolute favorite, but I do love marriage of convenience stories. It's the struggle & then the realization.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  17. I love marriage of convenience stories and have enjoyed many. First comes marriage by Mary Balogh & What I did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips come to mind :D

    devapajo (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. oh, forgot to say I don't have an e-reader.

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  18. I truly enjoy the marriage of convenience, but can't say that I've a favorite ... I do like the ones with a twist on the genre...

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  19. Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas is my all-time favorite in the marriage of convenience trope...actually my favorite in all categories ;)
    minadecaro at hotmail dot com

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  20. I enjoy MoC stories. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas and To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt are among my favorites. Can't wait to read Susanna's book.
    Mochfly AT swbell DOT net

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  21. I love marriage of convenience stories. I can't think of a favorite right now~ This one sounds like one I'd enjoy, thanks for the chance.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  22. Georgette Heyer wrote some great marriage of convenience stories, such as The Convenient Marriage.

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  23. I just finished Isabella Bradford's WHEN YOU WISH UPON A DUKE with Charlotte's marriage of convenience to March the Duke of Marchbourne. New author. I liked this book. Now I'm reading Gayle Callen's marriage of convenience story RETURN OF THE VISCOUNT. I'm finding it slow and boring. I normally like her books. It's not working for me. I also enjoyed the books already mentioned.

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  24. I like marriage of convenience stories. Don't have a favorite.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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