Sunday, April 25, 2010

His Convenient Marriage

Chressie Lloyd lost everything when her father was convicted for fraud and died of a heart-attack whilst on remand. Successful thriller author Miles Hunter purchases her house and offers to allow Chressie to rent the housekeeper's flat in return for being his housekeeper cum secretary. One day out of the blue two years later, Miles asks Chressie out to dinner and proposes to her. He suggests a "business arrangement" type of marriage with the possibility of it developing into a "real" marriage in the future. At the same time, Chressie's old beau arrives back in town expecting her to fall into his arms in gratitude.

I was really shocked to see this book was published in 2004. It has the kind of bland characters I expected to see in a much older book. In a word, this was boring. Boring characters, boring plot. No reason is ever given for Miles' proposal. He asks Chressie if she is wondering about his "lack of amorous advances" but never goes on to explain it. Why couldn't he court her normally? Chressie's former boyfriend Alistair turns out to be a sleaze (which was fairly apparent from his introduction) who has been sleeping with his step-mother Linnet. It's meant to be a secret relationship, but they make out in the parking lot of a pub; I'm not sure why they thought that was discreet. Alistair's father had a stroke when he found out about his wife's liaison with his son, so now Alistair hopes to pull the wool over Daddy's eyes again by marrying Chressie whom he will approve of. Meanwhile, Miles has a limp after being injured by a land mine when he was working as a journalist years ago. Sandie, his girlfriend/almost fiancée at the time, dumped him after seeing his scars for the first time. Chressie thinks Miles is still in love with Sandie while Miles thinks Chressie is in love with Alistair. Miles makes frequent trips to London, where Chressie assumes he has innumerable lovers, on the basis that he is an attractive man and doesn't seem to want to have sex with her. She calls his London flat one day and hears a woman's voice, so she jumps to the conclusion that it must be Sandie. What really bugs me, is that it actually was Sandie. There are so many reasons why a woman could be answering the phone at Miles' apartment, and it annoys me that Chressie's jealous assumptions would be even partially correct. Miles' explanation still leaves a lot to be desired though. He claims that Sandie was having marital problems, so she stayed there to think about things while he stayed with other friends. This is the woman he loved, who walked out on him because he was injured. Even if he's moved on now and doesn't hate her, I can't picture them being that good friends that she would have the effrontery to ask to stay at his apartment.

Anyway, feel comfortable to give this book wide berth. You won't be missing out on anything and your brain may even thank you for not feeding it more trash.

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