Monday 4 May 2020

#CBR12 Book 19: "Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience" by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Page count: 292 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Official book description:
She just wanted to claim her inheritance. What she got was a husband…

Xeni Everly-Wilkins has ten days to clean out her recently departed aunt’s massive colonial in Upstate New York. With the feud between her mom and her sisters still raging even in death, she knows this will be no easy task, but when the will is read Xeni quickly discovers the decades-old drama between the former R&B singers is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Secrets, lies, and a crap ton of cash spilled on her lawyer’s conference room table all come with terms and conditions. Xeni must marry before she can claim the estate that will set her up for life and her aunt has just the groom in mind. The ruggedly handsome and deliciously thicc Scotsman who showed up at her aunt’s memorial, bagpipes at the ready.

When his dear friend and mentor Sable Everly passed away, Mason McInroy knew she would leave a sizable hole in his heart. He never imagined she’d leave him more than enough money to settle the debt that’s keeping him from returning home to Scotland. He also never imagined that Sable would use her dying breaths to play match-maker, trapping Mason and her beautiful niece in a marriage scheme that comes with more complications than either of them need.

With no choice but to say I do, the unlikely pair try to make the best of a messy situation. They had no plans to actually fall in love.

OK, I'm now trying to review books I finished almost three months ago, which isn't exactly easy at the best of times, and all the harder now, when my brain frequently feels like a sieve and I have a very small supply of figurative spoons to get me through my days, and each time the spoon reserves fill up, it feels like a few more have gone missing, and the ones that are left are a bit battered and tarnished. Yes, I know there are things like review amnesties, but to get to my Cannonball, I need to review what I've read. So I apologise if this and upcoming reviews are a little bit less amusing or informative - I'm just trying to get by here.

This is one of the many books I read in February (still my best reading month of the year so far, when we still had no idea what was coming), while I was trying to expand my horizons and discover more books by talented black ladies. Fellow Cannonballer and good friend Rochelle/Emmalita reviewed this back in October 2019 and as pretty much all of her recommendations have been solid gold for me, this seemed like a natural book to try, especially since I'm also doing an A to Z Reading Challenge this year, and finding books starting with X is almost impossible. So, thank you for that, Rebekah Weatherspoon, and thank you for a lovely read.

The official book description make it seem like there's a lot more tension and coercion going on with the arranged marriage between Xeni and Mason. It's not like anyone is standing there with a shotgun. The will of Xeni's deceased relative simply states that if they marry and stay married for thirty days, Xeni will inherit a huge estate, including tens of millions of dollars, several houses and assorted other goodies, while Mason will get enough money to cover his student debts and set him up comfortably in the future. It's more like good-natured meddling and match-making from beyond the grave. The will in no way states that the couple needs to consummate the marriage or even live together, just stay married for one month, to see if they hit it off. It's a clever conceit to do a modern marriage of convenience story (harder to find plausible situations in a contemporary setting, when social ruin for unwed ladies isn't so common).

With the amount of money on the line, neither Xeni nor Mason feel like they can refuse, and it doesn't hurt that they find their potential temporary spouse attractive. Xeni gets a lot of unexpected information thrown at her during the will reading, and having a strong and supportive shoulder to both literally and figuratively cry on doesn't seem like such a bad idea. The couple agree to marry and have a sexual relationship while they are wed, but agree that the relationship will be temporary and they will go their separate ways once the thirty days are up. I'm sure it's no spoiler to say that things don't necessarily end up that way.

Weatherspoon is an author I'd heard of several times before, but never read. Based on this, I will be tracking down more of her books (but probably not the one with the cowboy on the cover and an amnesia storyline, because that's just a big ol' nope for me). My friend and fellow Cannonballer Teresa, who is lucky enough to work part-time at the Ripped Bodice in California, also speaks very highly of Weatherspoon, so the woman clearly deserves some of my time and money.

Judging a book by its cover: I am ambivalent about this cover. On the one hand, it doesn't feature little cartoon characters. On the other hand, it seems needlessly pastel, and the cover model doesn't look anything much like Xeni is described in the book.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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