Review: The Marriage Bed by Stephanie Mittman

Format: E-bookmbed
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Spencer Williamson
Heroine: Olivia Williamson
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 1996
Started On: July 31, 2010
Finished On: August 1, 2010

The Marriage Bed is a story that is a bit more complex than your average romance. Filled with details of family life with characters who are lessĀ  than perfect, this is a story that was totally different from what I expected when I started on the book.

Olivia and Spencer were neighbors when they were growing up. Spencer had been best of friends with Olivia’s brother Remy and Olivia doesn’t remember a time when she has not loved Spencer. When Spencer married Kirsten, Olivia had been devastated and vowed that she would never love another man. Kirsten had borne him two children Peter and Margaret, and an epidemic of diphtheria had taken away all those whom he had held close to his heart. From the moment he had buried those who were more precious to him than life itself, Spencer had promised himself that he would never love again.

However life and its practicalities demanded that he take a wife and Remy convinces Spencer that Olivia would make him a most suitable wife. Olivia may run his household like a well oiled machine and cater for his every need but Spencer vows that Olivia would never hold a candle to what Kirsten and his children meant to him. Though Olivia knows that Spencer had closed off his heart when his family died, the hope that with time Spencer would come around and learn to love her is what keeps Olivia going. And the one thing that Olivia craves more than anything else is to carry Spencer’s children in her womb and bring them into this world so that the pain that lingers in Spencer’s eyes may ease just a little.

With Olivia’s naivete on what goes on in the bedroom, it is easy for Spencer to continue deceiving Olivia without actually performing the act which could bear him sons and daughters. Two years on, Olivia is devastated by the fact that she is barren and that she would never be able to give Spencer the children Olivia is sure he needs. Little does she know that Spencer had been keeping the most vital part of their marriage a shame.

Desperate for a family, Olivia badgers Spencer until he agrees to open up his home for the children of Olivia’s sister who had died recently. Olivia is overjoyed by the thought of having young ones around her for whom she would bestow upon all the love she holds in her heart. But things hardly go according to plan when the children arrive. Neil is the only one who is taken with the idea of living with her Aunt Olivia and Uncle Spencer whilst Louisa who is the eldest and looks after the little one Josephina resents the living arrangements with every fiber of her being.

However the less than perfect family somehow strive on and it is when Olivia comes to know just how much Spencer has been withholding from her in their marriage that things turn around. Right about then, an accident that nearly takes away the woman Spencer had unwittingly fallen in love with though he had tried unsuccessfully not to, makes Spencer want to turn their lives around and love and worship the ground his beautiful wife walks on.

But the sense of betrayal that Olivia feels is too strong for her to just forgive, forget and move on. Olivia takes the kids and moves into her brother’s home and tries to live without Spencer who is continually underfoot now professing his love and adoration for her. Spencer has his work cut out for him to convince Olivia that he had wronged her immensely and that he would do everything within his power to have Olivia and the kids back in his life, and that he would continue to show it to her every day of his life.

Whereas romances always feature a hero women would love to dream about and sigh upon, Spencer is far from the idyllic hero. Going bald at his head and with his less than perfect body, Spencer is not the type of hero romance books are made out of. But what makes it all better is the story of how this less than average hero fights everything within him at first to keep Olivia as far away from his as possible making both of them miserable in the process and later how he devotes himself to winning the love of his life back into his arms and into his life once again.

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