Thursday, May 2, 2024

The Six-Month Marriage by Amanda Grange


THE SIX-MONTH MARRIAGE was mostly excellent but I also had some frustrations with it. The premise is fantastic, though, and sure to appeal to readers who enjoy high stakes marriages of convenience, such as BEAST OF BESWICK. Madeline is under her abusive uncle's thumb and he's about to marry her to an even crueler and more abusive man to assuage his gambling debts (as Madeline has a 10,000 pound dowry).

Instead of going along with this, Madeline runs away and ends up encountering a handsome scarred man who saves her from some would-be assaulters. When he talks with her and finds out the extent of her desperation, he decides that she would be the perfect candidate for his own trumped-up marriage proposal. He planned to marry a woman named Letitia to have as his countess because he thinks women are stupid and annoying, and at least she is a familiar enemy (lmao), but his father didn't agree with his choice and threatened to disinherit him posthumously from the Earldom if Philip married Letitia.

So Philip's new and ingenious plan is to marry Madeline for six months and then have the marriage annulled. Letitia gets the countesship, Madeline is freed from her uncle, and the uncle gets the dowry in exchange for leaving them all alone. It seems like the perfect plan, but obviously, since this book is more than twenty pages long, it is NOT.

For most of this book, I felt like it was going to be a five-star read. I liked the high stakes and the danger, and there was even a spy element at play that I liked (and I'm not normally into spies). It doesn't really go anywhere though and has the last ditch drama vibes that some of Lisa Kleypas's third act murder attempt subplots do, though. I liked all the characters and I thought the marriage of convenience was marriage-of-conveniencing quite nicely, but THEN Philip had to drop a skeazy line about how Madeline's trauma made her so much more mature and interesting than the vapid ladies of his acquaintance and that made me hate him a little, ngl. It's giving "I'm jealous you had a traumatic childhood because now you have GREAT material for a memoir!" energy. Yuck.

Madeline and Philip also made some INCREDIBLY stupid decisions in the third act and the use of the miscommunication trope in this book made me want to stick my head in gravel. Pro tip: if your romantic rival says, "Hey, let's meet up on this rickety bridge and talk terms" say NO. The end.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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