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A twist on an old theme - Not!

Discussion in 'Book Club' started by keith99, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. keith99

    keith99 sola dosis facit venenum

    I was watching a film on TV that included the rather old meme of the princess who has a planned marriage to be against her wishes. For a while I thought it had an interesting twist. The groom to be seemed to be a decent guy. Turned out to be that he was even worse than usual.
    So my question. Can anyone think of a book (or film) story with the detested arranged marriage where the groom to be turns out to be a decent person?
    I can think of one but will not say it to start. But I will say the detested groom is the cousin of the woman's real true love who she grew up with and that her true love does have what would be an outside love interest that never really starts because it was far too forbidden.
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  2. Stanfordella

    Stanfordella #FridaysForFuture Supporter

    United States
    In Relationship
    I know this isn't the book you're thinking of, but the first that comes to my mind is The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, a treacly historical romance novel about Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella who becomes known as Catherine of Aragon when she marries Arthur, Prince of Wales. Negotiations for their marriage began when they were toddlers, in an effort to forge an Anglo-Spanish alliance against France, and agreed upon when they were tweens. She was shipped off to England a couple of years later, along with her enormous dowry. The book details how she is separated from her life, including even from the name she was known by, and treated as an oddity, made to feel as a stranger in a strange land, if you will. Arthur was a year younger, and hadn't yet hit a growth spurt so he was smaller than her and very much still a boy physically and mentally. He was so young he was below the age of consent (for males) and their marriage only possible by a papal dispensation. The book doesn't show it as being love at first sight, but rather fear. They detested and resented one another at first. He behaved obnoxiously and thought her peculiar. She as overwhelmed with loneliness. They were both not just awkward with but terrified of physical intimacy. Over time though they did develop a true friendship; it was like they'd been marooned together in this bizarre island of young royal marriage. And then as Arthur physically grew, so did the romance between him and Catherine. He actually was kind to her, and showed her decency and love. When he died, aged 15, she was legitimately heartbroken and mourned him. Then to compound her grief, she couldn't return home because England refused to return the dowry to Spain, and Spain refused to take her back without the dowry. So she was forced to remain in England and wait for Arthur's bratty younger brother, the heir apparent, to reach the age where he was eligible to marry her. If I remember correctly (I read this when I was 12) in the book she and Arthur did consummate their marriage, to the satisfaction of the adults intent on confirming that at the time. Then after his death and the decision that she would be betrothed to Arthur's brother so the dowry and alliance could be kept, the same adults convinced her she was merely confused, that it wasn't a proper consummation, and therefore she was eligible for the second marriage. We know how King Henry VIII treated his wives....

    Of course the writer took many dramatic liberties with the book, including with the timelines. In real life the two began to know one another first via letters they exchanged that were written in Latin, a common language for them. They had been able to grow some affection before meeting on their wedding day, as evidenced from those letters. He did seem to actually have a sweet and honorable nature, in contrast to his brother.

    I'll think on the book you're referencing to see if I can figure it out.
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