Wed by Necessity (Smoky Mountain Matches #10) by Karen Kirst


Her Inconvenient Husband 

When a riding accident strands socialite Caroline Turner overnight with the new stable manager, she gets the one thing she never wanted—a husband! Marrying the infuriatingly stubborn Duncan McKenna wouldn’t have been her first choice, but with her reputation damaged, it’s her only option. Still, there’s something about the brash, rugged Scotsman that fascinates Caroline. 

If Duncan wanted to wed a society girl, he would have stayed in Boston with his family and his fortune. He expects Caroline to balk at her new modest lifestyle, but instead the strong-willed beauty seems determined to prove him wrong, making her all the more irksome…and irresistible. The marriage of convenience isn’t what Caroline and Duncan planned, but could they be a perfect match?

Wed by Necessity (Smoky Mountain Matches #10) by Karen Kirst

I honestly don’t know what to make of this book. It’s beautifully-written, apparently well-researched… However, while at first I struggled with the heroine, by the halfway point I was seeing red with the emotionally abusive, martyr “hero”.

No, that’s being too nice. I’m sorry, but this book actually upset me, beyond the historically inaccurate Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman hair on the cover (usually this Harlequin line has brilliant, gorgeous, historically accurate covers – this one is terrible! No female past girlhood would have been seen dead with her hair down in public.).

I was so upset by the “hero” of this book, I actually could not finish it.

I usually really enjoy Harlequin’s Christian historical line. I don’t believe in the religion the characters practice, but I often find these books to be better than the average wallpaper Regency romance. They deal with real people, and – even though there are more marriages of convenience than nuns at the Vatican – the social rules of the day are more historically accurate than most in this genre.

But then…

“Hero” and heroine are caught together in a compromising situation, and forced to marry. Until this point the heroine has been aloof and even rude, because she has two emotionally abusive and RICH parents who force her to be perfect, and not associate with people “beneath” her.

So the heroine does not become likeable until after her marriage.

However, what she doesn’t know is that the “hero” is a rich Scottish immigrant who “found Jesus”, and now wants to live in poverty for no reason whatsoever. And now he’s married to her, he expects her to live that life, too.

(We’ll just ignore the fact this guy is from Scotland, not Alabama!

He might be spouting ‘Didnae’ like the best of the Highland romance heroes, but at the same time he is talking like one of those evangelical preachers we get on TV here at 5am. It’s inaccurate, to say the least.)

In the past, a man who married into a big, established, RICH Southern US family would join their ranks. He’d be accepted into the family, be part of the family business, and fall into a world of more money than he could have dreamed of.

However, in this story – and apparently because of the hermit-like version of Christianity this “hero” practices – instead, the moment he marries the heroine, he forces her into poverty.

A few hours after their wedding, he orders her to pack up all of her things, her entire life, so he can donate it all to charity. She is only allowed to keep chambermaid-style clothes, and two decent dresses for church.

Also on day one, despite the fact she grew up rich, with servants, and still lives on her parents’ huge property, he expects her to suddenly know how to cook and clean, and then becomes furious with her when she’s off working on something else (like keeping her family’s business alive!) instead of waiting in the kitchen for him when he comes home for lunch.

He then forces her to become a low-class, working class farmer’s housewife, even though she is rich and can afford servants. He has a very public temper tantrum when she hires a part-time helper, even though she has other things to do, and no time to be a farmer as well as a housewife, as well as running her own little business.

He refuses to allow her to continue her charity work – what a Christian hero!

Why? Because he goes on about how he comes from money, but once he discovered Jesus he decided to live like Saint Francis of Assisi or something.

The hypocrisy is strong here.

Someone needs to remind this awful, awful man that HE rode off after HER, and HE was the reason they were caught together and forced to marry (though the author tries to blame that on the heroine, too).

I didn’t finish the book. It upset me. What this “hero” did to his new wife was nothing short of abuse. There was NO reason to force her into a life of poverty, and even if her parents were indifferent to their daughter, there is no way in ever-loving hell they’d want their child to fall so far in social standing and allow this. They would have lost face in the community. They would have been humiliated.

This is not a scenario that would EVER have happened in small-town Southern USA in the 1800s.

This man was ridiculous. He was abusive. And there is a difference between taking pride in doing things for yourself, and living in abject poverty for NO reason other than evangelical Christianity.

If you cannot already tell: by the time I decided to give up on this one I was absolutely furious. I was upset. I was incredulous we were supposed to think the HEROINE was the baddie in this situation.

I’ve read some BRILLIANT Love Inspired Historical books. I’ve read some good ones. I’ve read some disasters.

However, I’m sure I’ve never before read one that glorified spousal abuse in the name of Jesus.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

One thought on “Wed by Necessity (Smoky Mountain Matches #10) by Karen Kirst

  1. Pingback: The Week: 30th January – 5th February | Sonya's Stuff

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