Another trope rec post! This time the specific mood I’m in is that carefully arranged, sometimes mail-ordered happily ever after. I’ve always loved mail-order bride books (despite knowing arranged marriage is much more complicated in real life). This isn’t reality, this is fiction, and in fiction picking a partner like you’re ordering an entrée from a menu ends perfectly every time. For this list I’m focusing on the mail-order trope but including some of the more standard arranged-marriage books because they are really good and they fit the “carefully chosen and planned” theme.
Something about the forced proximity of it all keeps me reading. Will the characters seek out the little things about each other that are worth loving? Will they spend the precious time needed to understand each other? Will they let themselves fall into love? Or will they keep it at convenience and go their separate ways inside the same house? Also…sexual tension, boss level.
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Starting out with some good old fashioned western historical mail-ordered brides: Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath. (Actually just read her entire Texas Trilogy, they all count.)
The Texan’s Wager by Jodi Thomas is part of a “wife lottery” series, of course they’re all HEAs! (Also why are all the mail order brides headed to Texas? There were other Western territories. Just sayin.)
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer, a true OG of the genre. And in this one it’s the woman advertising for a husband, in a nice twist on the trope.
Of course Beverly Jenkins has done her version of a mail-order bride, and of course her bride is a badass. Super recommend Tempest if you like strong, competent heroines.
And a newer author to take on the trope is Linda Broday with The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride.
Slightly Married (Mary Balogh) and Devil in Winter (Lisa Kleypas) are both a ‘marriage of convenience’ take on the trope by two classic authors who should definitely be part of your library. And we can’t forget Julie Garwood’s medieval romances The Prize and Honor’s Splendour. I’m trying not to flood the entire post with historicals so just know that there are literally hundreds of marriage of convenience romances out there, Google it if you need more.
It’s not “mail-order” per se, but contemporary romance has managed to keep the “marriage of convenience” trope alive. And it’s actually believable!
I’d suggest Roomies by Christina Lauren, Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata, A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole, A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev and Xeni by Rebekah Witherspoon for this unique niche.
And did you know mail-order brides are an entire sub-genre in alien romance? Really, it’s an extra kooky thing in this already pure kookoobananas genre. It ties neatly into the already prevalent Fated Mates trope in SciFi. Now you know about it, too. And you should also know that I love alien mail-order bride romance very, very much.
The Alien’s Mail Order Bride by Ruby Dixon. Short, sweet, and so adorable. Please try this one!
Darak by Cara Bristol starts off her seven book Dakonian mail order brides series. Lots of goodness here for you to love.
Sought is the first book in the Brides of The Kindred series I truly enjoyed (the first two were kinda meh) by Evangeline Anderson. Her series is a touchstone alien romance series and I think it’s going on 26 books now? Seriously. Twenty-six.
Axil by Ava Ross starts another seven book mail-order brides series, the Mail-Order Brides of Crakair. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s on my list.
Joran by Susan Hayes starts the hilarious train rolling on the 9 book Star-Crossed Alien Mail Order brides series. Think of these as popcorn books and just rip through them like I did.
And Alpha Star by Elsa Jade starts the four book Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides series. Get into my eyeholes!
This has gone on so long, but I can’t forget the mail-order trope in paranormal romance, too.
The Vampire’s Mail-Order Bride by Kristen Painter is part of the Nocturne Falls series, which is fluffy and fun. Definitely recommended.
The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride by Kati Wilde is just going to end up on every list of my recommendations and I’m not even sorry.
The Wolf’s Mail-Order Bride by Ella Goode is part of the mail-order series she, Ruby Dixon, Kati Wilde, and Alexa Riley all wrote books for.