I have two RITA® Reader Challenge reviews for this book, which finaled in the Inspirational romance category. The first is from Gail, and the second is from ReadinginAK. Gail gave this book a B, while ReadinginAK gave it an A. I’ve averaged those two to a B+.
Plot Summary:His plan was simple—convince Caroline Hudson to take in his children as wards. Widower Tyrone Justice is stunned when the Nantucket schoolmistress requests a wedding instead! But really, what could be simpler than a marriage of convenience? Tyrone’s children will have stability, Caroline will have security…and neither Tyrone nor Caroline will have to risk their hearts once more. Bruised by past loves and losses, neither is ready to take that chance again. Unless a potentially deadly disaster makes them see the truth. Happiness lies within reach—if they’ll take a chance on the unplanned gift of love.
And here is Gail’s review:
The heroine is a widow who runs a private school for the children of the well-to-do on Nantucket island to keep body and soul, and house, together. One day, three raggedy children show up wanting to go to her school. They want to improve themselves, like their mother wanted. Mama died in the Great Nantucket Fire four years ago, when everything they owned went up in flames. Their father has been trying to take care of them since.
They agree to exchange schooling for chores and repairs on the big house falling down around her ears. Then the little family is evicted, so the heroine takes the children into her home while the hero heads out to hunt for work. Eventually-the title IS “A Convenient Wife”—they marry for the sake of the children.
This is a sweet, slow-moving romance. There is angst—they are both widowed—but it’s low-key angst. Much of it is wrapped around the hero’s pride and unwillingness to take help from anybody, including God. No preachiness—the “inspiration” is woven nicely into the story.
ReadinginAK sent the following review:
It’s been a long time since I read an inspirational romance. Ironically, my work is so centered around people’s faith that I don’t want to read about faith struggles in my spare time. That being said, I volunteered to read an inspirational RITA candidate just to check out what I’m missing.
So I was pleasantly surprised when reading A Convenient Wife to find that by not reading inspirationals, I’ve been missing some excellent dialogue, good story development, non-plot moppet children and realistic romance development. When reading a novel, timelines are collapsed and we all know it.
The story of Tyrone and Catherine (and his children) was moving and interesting. The faith portion was realistic in that he struggled to believe in God after his first wife’s death. She is faithful and hopes that he will. The interjections of biblical references and prayer were smooth and helpful to character development, rather than being stuck in for the sake of the genre.
The, um, climax came in a life/death situation in which (spoiler) Catherine saves his daughter from a fire. She was out two days from smoke inhalation. That’s entirely plausible, but edged a little too close to a 3-day resurrection story I’ve heard somewhere else.
I think I miss the steam of my regular romances, but this was a pleasant sojourn into a romance arena I don’t normally visit. The realness of the characters made the read worthwhile.