Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!
Jesse’s in a pinch: to keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal. In exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?
A Dreamspun Desires title*
While I was gobbling up every book I could read growing up, among those countless paperbacks included untold numbers of romance novels, from the gothic to the regency to the contemporary. My parents upper garage has shelves still lined with hundreds of yellowed paperbacks whose covers mirrored that of the one Paul Richmond designed for Shira Anthony’s First Come Marriage. This is the first novel from Dreamspinner’s new Dreamspun Desires Romance line, with tales and covers guaranteed to bring back memories of those stories you may have read and loved so well. I was so eager to dive into the story and find out what Shira Anthony and Dreamspinner had in store for us all. Happily, I discovered a familiar and wonderfully romantic story certain to warm your heart and make the time fly joyfully by!
Shira Anthony picks that age old theme of a marriage of convenience (yes, a favorite of mine) and transforms it within the M/M genre. I especially liked that she kept many of the old romance novel features…like a will clause, a specific time frame…moving within that prescribed romance novel format. It might seem similar to Harlequin and other romance publishers yet the author makes it her own with her characterizations, locations and dialog.
Taken outside of the prescribed romance novel format some of the character choices might have one snorting…a tad. But remember the trope this story is mirroring with affection and those small irritations fly away as they did back when I was reading the original stories. It was a conscious decision to take these romance novels as what they were…an adult wish for the best happily ever after, a contemporary Cinderella Story and if you have to take quite a few leaps of faith? Well, so be it.
Chris Valentine is a struggling writer. He’s sweet, adorable and clearly in need of someone to love him. Along comes wealthy Jesse Donovan, in need of a spouse in order to maintain control of his company. The men and their romance unfolds sweetly, gently and with the misunderstandings popping up as they should. I liked both Jesse’s stepmother and Chris’ mom. From the moment I picked it up, the story just flew by, bringing up all those happy memories of the romance stories of the past and intermingling them with this sexy, cheerful new M/M HEA from Shira Anthony and Dreamspinner Press.
I can’t wait to see what the next story in this series brings. This is just so much fun! Romance, sexy men, and a HEA! You just can’t go wrong. Pick up First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony, the first in the new Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner Press. I think you’ll be as delighted and entertained as I was.
Cover artist: Paul Richmond does justice with total affection to those wonderful romantic covers of the past right down to the design. Great job.
ebook, 262 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFirst Comes Marriage
*Dreamspun Desires is a series from Dreamspinner Press: “Dreamspun Desires are contemporary category romance novels, complete with your favorite heartwarming heroes, captivating plots, and exotic settings. These titles are all about happily ever afters that leave you with a satisfied smile for days.”