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Feature book: Blackmailed into the Marriage Bed

3 October 2018

Blackmailed into the Marriage Bed by Melanie Milburne

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 19 Mar 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: print / ebook
Length: 141 pages
RRP: A$7.99 / A$5.99

Ailsa walked out on her marriage before the first year was out, not wanting to be Vinn Gagliardi’s trophy wife. They come back together when Vinn offers Ailsa’s brother sponsorship money for a burgeoning sports career, and Ailsa returns to Italy to confront him. Yes, confront him. Then she discovers Vinn’s grandfather is faced with a life-threatening illness and operation, and Vinn asks her to pretend to be reconciled during this time to please his beloved grandfather.

While Vinn is fairly guarded emotionally, he was generous to Ailsa during their marriage, right up until he asked her to consider having children. That’s when she walked out in a panic. In fact, Ailsa’s modus operandi seems to be walking away from most things, without discussion.

I love Melanie Milburne and I love her books. However, I have issues with Ailsa, this heroine. She seems petulant and immature, and deals with any conflict by simply not talking and running away time after time, leaving Vinn clueless about whatever just happened.

Ailsa didn’t seem generous regarding most things in her marriage, apart from sex. She never told Vinn she loved him, in case he used it against her in some sort of power struggle. She never talked to him about her family’s secret. She didn’t really talk to him about her career. She never said why she didn’t want a baby.

Admittedly, she was also closed down because of a past dark secret which is totally horrible, let me assure you, but she never spoke of it to Vinn. She ran away instead. Ailsa’s massive psychological baggage is creating huge issues.

I liked Vinn. He had more than his fair share of family situations, and he seems to have loved and lost his wife again and again but is trying desperate measures ‘to have and to hold’ her. Literally. The type of hero we want to read about.

All Ailsa needed to do for her own HEA was talk to her husband. And she does, eventually. Rockier than most reads, I was pleased with the ending. Hopefully these two will now enjoy a fabulous marriage.

Reviewed by Mary D

A review copy of this book was provided by the author’s publicist.

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