The White Marriage by Charlotte Bingham
|The White Marriage by Charlotte Bingham|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A nostalgic and romantic read set just after the end of the Second World War where a young girl looks set to enter a marriage which will never be consummated.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: August 2007|
|Publisher: Bantam Books Ltd|
Sunny Chantry lives in the village of Rushington. She's in her late teens and attends (in a rather lack-lustre way) the local secretarial college. It's outside her family's cottage that Gray Wyndham's Bentley breaks down and Gray seems rather taken with the innocent, attractive young woman. The following day they meet again at a ball and dance together, but it still comes as something of a shock to Sunny when she's approached by society beauty Leandra Fortescue with a proposal that Gray wishes to marry Sunny. There is, however, a snag. War injuries have left Gray unable to consummate the union and it would therefore be what is known in polite circles as a white marriage.
It's not surprising that Sunny's parents are against the relationship, not least because Gray is much older than Sunny and from a completely different social background but eventually they agree that the pair can be unofficially engaged for a year. Sunny's friend, Arietta, is convinced that Sunny is on the road to wealth and happiness which contrasts sharply with her own miserable home circumstances. All is not lost for Arietta though - she does well at secretarial college and soon leaves to take up a job in London and Sunny goes to join her in her rather chaotic lodgings.
You always know what you're going to get with Charlotte Bingham. You're going to get a big, nostalgic read with bags of romance and a warm glow to finish on. Her books are frequently set in, or around, the time of the Second World War and this one is no exception. You're taken back to the time just after the end of the war when clothes had to be altered to make them more fashionable and there was a real shortage of building materials to get on with the reconstruction that was required. There were improvements though. Some people even had a telephone in the house - but not many.
I liked Sunny, as I always like Bingham's heroine-and-friend combinations. She's innocent and garrulous and just capable of telling a lie when the occasion demands it, but above all she has a good heart, whether she's talking to Gray's rather dreadful father or his gardener. Of course things do not turn out to be quite as simple as some of the characters would have hoped and one thing seems to be rather more useful than has been suggested. Even the people you dislike - Arietta's awful mother or the scheming Leandra Fortescue - have their redeeming features and it's easy to see how they came to be as they are. There's even a neat and rather unexpected twist in the tale. It's a good, long, heart-warming read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.
If this type of book appeals to you then we can also recommend Tell It To The Skies by Erica James.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The White Marriage by Charlotte Bingham at Amazon.com.
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