Arranged marriages were far more common in centuries past but were even more common in the early 20th century. It is not often that one comes across an arranged marriage, or at least one that the participants will be honest about. I wonder sometimes if there are more high society marriages that are "arranged" in some way to preserve social standing or family fortunes. Anyway, Jaci Burton has come up with a novel that is certainly contemporary in its setting and very modern in its scope. The characters are taken right out of corporate America and the ramifications have their impact in a modern boardroom.
Wanting to insure that his playboy grandson married and settled down, Ryan McKay's grandfather had put a caveat in his will that stated that Ryan must marry and father a child in one year or lose controlling interest in the family corporation, one which owned some of the largest hotels in Las Vegas. With five hours to go, Ryan's fiance changed her mind--she didn't want a pregnancy to ruin her cover girl figure--Ryan was back to square one and facing turning over the family corporation to his cousin, a man who cared far more about the power than about sustaining the viability of the company and insuring the livelihood for hundreds of people. Turning to his ever-dependable adminstrative assistant, Faith Brewer, McKay proposes marriage and our story begins.
Now Faith was one of those kinds of women whose mothers constantly imprint their minds with the notion that they are plain--dull, just another woman to blend in with the masses, unnoticeable and better off that way. So imagine her chagrin or better yet, her astonishment when Ryan McKay asks her to "help" him out with his problem by marrying him. A emergency business proposition, a solution to the McKay difficulties--nothing personal. Living together, sleeping together, making a baby together, and then divorce after one year. Could she do it? Could she take a chance on venturing into this emotional mine field? In just a few hours Faith was transformed into a fairy princess complete with the designer wedding gown and a wedding ring to die for. But it was just business -- nothing personal. Perhaps the greatest surprise in store for Ryan was that Faith was prepared to truly be his wife, even though she knew it was only for one year. Marriage meant something to her, not for the purpose of preserving a family corporation. And the child? Ryan was prepared to sign away all rights to "her" child. He didn't want a family. So the journey of discovery for both of them begins.
This is a beautiful romance novel that embraces the best and the worst in people, love won and love lost, rapture, ecstacy, and disappointment. It is living the high life with money as no object while facing the emptiness that conterfeit relationship brings. In the midst of this is that simple but stalwart woman, Faith, and her determination that no matter how bloodied she may ultimately be, she would be strong for herself and for her child, a little one that would be loved and would never feel alone like she had felt all her childhood.
Of course, it is a love story with the incomparable stamp of the Burton writing expertise. The plot is probably not all that unique, but somehow the story stands on its own, filled with all the stuff that keeps a reader glued to the pages. This story was published several years ago, but like so many good stories, deserves to be read or revisited. It is my hope that more romance fans will discover this book. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.