All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

A Convenient Bridegroom – Helen Bianchin

on December 30, 2012

Convenient BridegroomA Convenient Bridegroom
Helen Bianchin
Harlequin Presents
1999, 192p
Read from my Nan’s stash

Aysha is only two weeks away from her wedding to Carlo Santangelo. It’s something of a marriage of convenience – her family and Carlo’s have been friends for many, many years and socialise often. Carlo has been married before but lost his wife only weeks after the wedding in a car accident. Aysha, some decade or so younger than Carlo, has watched him casually date a bevy of women before their engagement which will seek to cement the two families even further and provide the next generation.

Aysha is beginning to find it difficult to maintain the light, casual façade she wears around Carlo as the wedding draws nearer. Although Carlo is attentive and thoughtful, Aysha is painfully aware that he doesn’t love her, especially not in the way that she loves him. For him, she believes this to be merely a business arrangement that is mutually beneficial – he gets an attractive, well connected wife to keep his home and bear his children and she gets a handsome, wealthy man to take care of her and provide the home and children and the means to raise them in the best ways Sydney has to offer. Not only can she probably not live up to the ghost of his deceased wife, but someone from their social circle has made it quite clear that she enjoys Carlo’s company and that there are no plans for this arrangement to cease after the marriage.

It’s not often I read anything from the Mills & Boon line anymore – I read a lot of them in my younger days and after a while they do feel all the same. I’ve read Helen Bianchin before, some probably 14 or so years ago now and this one encompasses everything I remember about her books: society weddings based on mutually successful families merging, the female already desperately in love with the male and believing it to not be returned and a bitchy, society type who will stop at nothing in order to secure the hero. There’s a huge amount of detail paid to clothes, hair, make up, Sydney traffic and day-to-day routines such as driving from one suburb to another and dinner plans. I only read this because I realised I was on 97 titles by Australian Women Writers this year and I wanted to make it an even 100 for the year. I needed a few quick reads so I raided my Nan’s stash again to see what she had. I found enough books to definitely meet my requirements and knew I’d get through this one in less than two hours.

Part of the reason I stopped reading Mills & Boon was as I grew up, I began enjoying the heroes less and less. A lot of them, particularly those rooted in Meditteranean heritage are overtly Alpha to the point of bullying the heroine, which always made me inherently frustrated in reading them. Although Carlo was obviously a successful man used to getting what he wanted and he occasionally did order Aysha around, it was more like “Why yes I am taking you to the Gold Coast for a lovely weekend break, go and pack your bag” than “No you cannot do this because I say so and I am male and Italian and therefore women should cook me my pasta and pour me my wine and go to my bed and that’s about it”. He was relatively inoffensive although he was quite slow on the uptake putting Nina, the society woman attempting to make waves in the relationship, in her place. You’d think a smart man like he was supposed to be would’ve nipped that in the bud early, rather than allow her to taunt his fiancee at every social event they were attending (of which there were many).

Like many of these novels, a lot of the issues could’ve been solved with some simple communication. Aysha refused to tell Carlo what was bothering her and then seemed to think the solution was moving to their Clontarf mansion before the wedding, which seemed counter-productive given she believed her husband was keeping a mistress. He wasn’t, obviously, but if he was then she pretty much gave him many free nights to do what he pleased. All in all though, this book was pretty much what I wanted at the time – something quick and not too inflammatory, to pass the time and add to my tally.

6/10

Book #285 of 2012


One response to “A Convenient Bridegroom – Helen Bianchin

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