Dueling Trend: Sham Marriages In Historical Romance

This month three new historical romances feature couples pretending to be husband and wife. This got us to thinking, which of these situations rings most true? So to judge these "sham marriages" we decided on three criteria: what is the motivation for the fake marriage, how permanent is it and what's the true Happily Ever After-potential of the marriage. Find out how these three novels stack up and which one comes out on top!

Meet the Contestants:

Always a Temptress
By Eileen Dreyer 

Major Sir Harry Lidge plans to kidnap Lady Kate Seaton on the orders of his government. He certainly never planned on pretending to be her husband, but that is just what the situation calls for when he must help free her from an asylum where her evil brother has stashed her.

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Motivation: This sham marriage is perpetrated for the good of the government. It's positively patriotic.

Permanency: Because Harry is rescuing Kate from an asylum, it would probably be pretty easy to get out of the marriage by claiming the lady was in fact crazy.

HEA-Potential: This relationship is forged out of desperation, which is generally not the best foot to start out on. 


Highland Hero
By Amanda Scott 

Sir Ivor "Hawk" Mackintosh and Lady Marsi Cargill are traveling with the young heir to the throne. While in Scotland they tell an innkeeper that they are married in order to throw the enemy off the scent. But they certainly didn't realize that by telling the innkeeper this, according to Scottish law, they've actually gotten married!

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Motivation: This hero and heroine are getting "married" for the good of the monarchy, taking loyalty to the next level.

Permanency: Although they don't know it, this couple is actually married, so (considering that this is a historical romance) that's a pretty darned permanent situation.

HEA-Potential: As long as these lovers survive their adventure, we think that this couple could go all the way! 


His Mistress by Christmas
By Victoria Alexander

When the widowed Lady Veronica Smithson agrees to spend the winter holidays on Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater's private estate, she expects that they will have a romantic interlude far from the prying eyes of the town. However, when his family descends on his home, to save her reputation, the pair pretends to be husband and wife for the holidays.

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Motivation: This made-up marriage was concocted to save Veronica's reputation. 

Permanency: After Veronica and Sebastian tell society they've tied the knot — they basically have tied the knot or the scandal that this couple was trying to avoid will be upon them.

HEA-Potential: There's nothing that can make a couple feel the love like holiday cheer, but after they survive Sebastian's family, this pair of world-wise protagonists may discover that they are perfectly compatible after all.


Our Conclusion:

RT's Morgan says, "No matter how many ways I consider this match-up, Highland Hero keeps coming out as my pick for the most believable. I mean, they actually get married! That makes this book my pick for best sham marriage of the month." 

RT's Whitney disagrees, "I think Regency Romance fans will be on my side, for this one. His Mistress by Christmas seems to be the best 'sham marriage' situation. Not only is there no one chasing this couple around, creating tension that forges romantic bonds which potentially won't last when the danger is over, but I'm a firm believer that if you can get through the holidays with someone — you can get through anything with them!"

RT's Elisa is our tie-breaker and she says, "Although the Regency sham-marriage sounds like more fun, I think that Highland Hero is my pick to win the title for this month's best sham-marriage. It is simply more believable, and inspired by a more noble motivation."

Which situation do you think makes the best sham marriage? Leave your answers below and for more genre coverage be sure to head over to our Everything Romance Page!