The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Virgin's Secret Marriage: Post 8

apologies! but posts in March and April, sigh, could be a bit short and/or slapdash, due to a truly wacky/busy spring semester

Chapter 5: Mawage is what bwings us togeva today

Since Joe and Emma can think of NO OTHER PLAN to allow gossip to die down and keep Joe on the Carolina Storm, they are going to get remarried/stay married. There’s just NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT THIS CAN GO WRONG. Clearly.

They’re in Emma’s apartment, awaiting their guests. I’m impressed that they can get people to Emma’s place so quickly, frankly—not just their guests but their officiator, too.

She knew their mothers were going to be too happy about him neglecting to use his razor (62).

Oh, I don’t know. I suspect they might overlook that particularly flaw, what with whole suddenly getting married thing.

I don’t know what the “happy” couple told their guests (Emma’s parents, Joe’s mother, Joe’s attorney, and the Storm’s head coach) to get them there, but it wasn’t that they’re getting married. Nope, that’s saved for in person, just before the arrival of the photographer and minister.

To their credit, Joe and Emma don’t try to convince their families that they’re in love or that they’ve actually been having this secret marriage for the past seven years—they’re upfront that this is to quell the gossip. But when Joe’s mother protests that they don’t love each other, Emma says that they once did and that they’re “hoping those feelings will come back to [them] if they spend time together” (63). Which, given that after criticizing Joe’s unshaven-ness, Emma says she’s intentionally not wearing anything borrowed, blue, old, or new in order to “jinx their nuptials and prevent any real emotional involvement on either side,” I’d say that that that part is a Big Ol’ Lie (62). But it’s hard to tell, because of course Harlequins, no matter which line a title is in, are inherently conservative in that the main couple is going to love each other Happily Ever After (HEA) by book’s end, so I can see how it’d be confusing to write. Emma says she doesn’t want any emotional attachment on page 62, but she’s really lying to herself (in Harlequin HEA terms) there and it’s telling the truth when she thinks she’s not on page 63.

Or maybe writing the book took about as long as the actions in the book and thus it was hard for the author to keep straight.

Before the minister arrives, Saul takes Emma aside to chat with her. She expects him to criticize Joe’s character, but instead he informs her, point blank, “You don’t have what it takes to be a hockey player’s wife” (63). Emma did not see that coming, and to be honest, neither did I.

Then again, Emma’s response includes “her lower lip slid out in a dissenting pout” (63) so he might actually be right. If Emma’s reaction is to sulk like a child, she doesn’t have what it takes to be anyone’s wife, well above the age of consent or not.

If you’re wondering what Saul’s logic is, he declares that Emma has been pampered and in the spotlight her whole life and as a hockey player’s wife she won’t be (in the spotlight at least) and that her husband will be away all the time, tempted by groupies, concerned mainly with what happened during his games, and prone to injuries. That seems a very one-sided way of looking at the situation, but I suppose Saul isn’t technically wrong.

Joe overhears this diatribe and calls Saul out on it, saying it’s a dark view. Saul’s response is to say that his directive to Joe to fix the situation did not include marrying Emma, and Joe goes on the attack, saying that he knows that Saul hoped he’d either quit hockey (yeah right, like any NHLer would voluntarily?!) or at least ask to be traded. Saul’s reaction is to tell Joe that he’s slightly less dense than he’d expected, with “something akin to respect coming into his penetrating gaze” (65). That could have been phrased a lot better, but even barring that, it’s a weird moment. So Joe standing up for himself makes Saul respect him? We’ve never been told that Joe didn’t stand up for himself before (although I suppose there haven’t been details about what happened the first time around.) Still, I don’t see how Joe could have done anything that first time around, at least not once he’d returned Emma to her dorm. I think if the two of them had decided to go for it, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, then maybe Saul would have respected him more?

At any rate, the wedding happens, and because the press is there (the local news station in the hopes that this will get them to stop following Emma and Joe around), Joe’s kiss to Emma at “you may kiss your bride” involves bending her over backwards so that she has to hang onto him. There’s no indication of whether the news people believe the kiss, but their mothers do, to the point where they’re speculating over the marriage being successful.

(Can you believe this STILL isn’t the end of chapter 5? Or that all this has happened but we’re only 67 pages out of 205 into this book? I seriously cannot imagine what all will still happened as I’ve only read to the end of this chapter. I’m sure more wackiness will ensue.)

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