Occasionally, when I read a romance, its storyline sends me on a remembrance of times that have past me. Liz Fielding‘s A Suitable Groom did that for me today.
A Suitable Groom is a sweet romance about a woman who orchestrates a meeting with a man that she feels will be a great deflector from her single status at a family wedding. I do enjoy a “Fake relationship becomes Real” plot line even though I know of only one real life relationship that had this as a start. (A green card marriage which eventuated in love, a child and now 25 years together). But there was something in the retelling of this tale that had me remembering the awkwardness of receiving invites for “Vassiliki and friend” for formal dinners, birthdays and weddings. When these events were held close to my home, I was more than happy to turn up on my own, but when venues were over an hour away by car I preferred to take a friend along. This was in the days of no mobile phones and I found driving through National Parks in my old, unreliable car at midnight on my own to be particularly distasteful.
I had a trusty partner in an old school friend who was always happy to come along to snooty parties, eat great food, dance the night away and then laugh while I drove the two of us home. This was a dear friend whom I had known since I was in primary school but I had no romantic inclinations towards him, and I believed that he had none towards me.
One night, as I was dropping him off from one of my many parties, he asked me to park the car. This startled me. He was my friend. I did not want him confusing our platonic relationship but I parked in his dark, quiet street.
He turned to me and told me “I know why I am on this earth”.
I internally cringed and thought “Why can’t guys just stay friends. Why do they have to misread romance into every friendship”.
He took my hand in his, gazed into my eyes and said “I have been put on this earth to kill the anti-Christ”.
As he said these words, my thoughts turned to “Why can’t guys just crack onto me”.
My next thought was “Fuck! What if he thinks I am the anti-Christ and he wants to kill me and I’m on his dark, quiet street”.
Suffice to say, I wasn’t who he was searching for but he did give me a long description of how this revelation came to him. I gently pulled my hand away from his, made my excuses that I was running late and had to head home and left him with his ramblings. Sadly, this did hamper our friendship as I never asked him to partner me again. To my knowledge, he never killed an anti-Christ but he did become a heroin addict from which he has been recovering with methodone for many years.
Which brings me back to Liz Fielding’s A Suitable Groom. Such a lovely read. Filled with funny family dynamics and a spark between the hero and heroine from the first moment that they spoke. I especially liked the accidental marriage plans as this is how my own husband and I accidentally married (I kid you not). If only there were more “fake relationship, stand in escort to a wedding turns into romantic love” stories in real life. *sigh*