Sham Marriage/Betrothal Tropes
by Aileen Fish
I have a confession: when I first began reading romance I absolutely hated the category tropes. I skipped that aisle in the bookstore and went for the big, thick historical romances with their complicated, twisting plots and subplots. I wanted unique stories, not the same old thing.
And then a few years ago I found re-releases of the classic Regency romances by Allison Lane, Maggie Cheever, Laura Matthews and others. I fell in love. Not only did they use the classic tropes such as fake betrothals and weddings that never were, they set them in a world where courtship rituals were precisely defined and enforced, and created a unique tale. I began to appreciate the work involved in taking the same old idea and making it new and different.
When I sat down to write A Pretense of Love, I challenged myself to use the sham betrothal trope. My editor at Ellora’s Cave created the Cotillion arm of the publishing house from her love for Georgette Heyer and the Regency world. I felt if I could earn her red pen’s approval, I could continue in the genre.
As always, I loved my story, my critique partner loved the story, so I sent it off and began The Wait. While I waited, I wrote more books and got lost in new character’s lives.
Then I received the acceptance letter. After appropriate celebration, it hit me—I wonder what that story was about! I read my blurb and thought I knew what I’d written. Then I read through the story. After the prologue I was sure I knew what happened next. And I turned the page and said, “Wait, what?” I read it like a reader, not a writer, and I fell in love all over again.
Ben was so romantic, and so determined! And Jean was so firm in her desire to be left alone. But how could she ignore the feelings his charm stirred up in her?
A Pretense of Love is officially my favorite story I’ve written. I hope the reader discovers like I did that the story has something that takes it from just another trope and puts in in the Keep folder on her Kindle.
About A Pretense of Love
Blush sensuality level: This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).
Twenty-two-year-old Jean’s best chance of finding a husband is behind her. When her brother’s friend offers to pay for a Season in London in exchange for pretending to be his betrothed, she sees it as a miracle.
Ben needed a fiancée to convince his dying grandfather that he has settled down and is capable of inheriting and running his business and estate. But he didn’t consider how spending six weeks with Jane would make her necessary to his happiness. Now she’s in London and he’s in agony. A gentleman never reneges on an agreement…unless his heart is broken.
A Blush® Regency romance from Ellora’s Cave
You can read an excerpt and find the buy links here http://www.ellorascave.com/a-pretense-of-love.html
About the Author
When Aileen Fish was eight or nine, she told the mom next door that she wanted to be a writer, but she hated writing her stories down. At twelve, she wrote her first novel after reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Well, she wrote most of it. That writing it down part got in the way again.
Aileen’s early works as an adult included a parallel-world Young Adult fantasy based on Native American mythology, which she wrote with the help of Ray Faraday Nelson in the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Workshop. Her short fiction at that time was primarily dark fantasy, and her first sale was “Saturday Night” in the Summer 1991 issue of After Hours Magazine.
Obviously, Aileen has trouble remaining in the real world. Even as she ventured into romance, there was always a paranormal twist. She has tamed the inner beasts and demons into short periods of submission, which allow traditional historical romances to escape onto the page. Oh, and she no longer has that problem with finishing a story. Now, it’s a matter of finishing fast enough for the next hero to get his turn.