The Marriage Wager
by Jane Ashford
First of all I have to adress the state of a cover picture. The book was published over twenty years ago. This first cover with a ambiguous dark haired character holding a hand of cards at the gambling table is much more accurate to the story than the pinkish disaster where two fair headed people show much skin while they are embracing. While the main female character of the story is indeed fair headed, the male character is not. I don’t know why I get so agitated by these visual details but I do.
When I started this book I wanted some romantic historical story with quite possible some steamy parts in between. What I got had me surprised more times trough the book. The book opens with intrigue that leaves the author with plethora of plot twist options. Both characters seem to have a murky past. While the actual marriage wager of the book is settled quite fast there was another aspect of this book that caught me by surprise.
Trough most of the book characters are put into a position where care and understanding are the only thing that can lead them to prosperity. Both characters are scared by their pasts and get caught up in the healing power of love. I kept getting surprised from the constant sacrificing acts they do for each other but without each other actually knowing about it.
There were parts of this book when I thought that the author has made a story for couples who need marriage counseling. At times this book felt like a step by step example what happens with good intentions and not enough communication. The themes were strangely universal and easy to understand.
I expected a nice romantic historical drama. I got more drama than I expected but it was worth it. The amount of times I wanted to scream at something the main characters did was surprisingly low. I enjoyed this book even though it had way more intrigue than steamy moments.