His Convenient Husband, by Robin Covington
Series: Love and Sports, #1
Release Date: October 9, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.
Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.
Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary… until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe… marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.
Marriage of Convenience
This is a pretty straightforward “marriage of convenience” romance. This book is a quick read that feels a lot shorter than its actual length, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. It felt like I was reading an outline for a longer story, with only the major scenes filled in. The chapter breaks are disorienting, as it’s not always obvious whether we’re starting in Isaiah’s or Victor’s point of view and it feels like we’re careening from one event to the next without any time to figure out what’s happened in between. A lot of the plot has to be taken on faith, but that’s also the nature of the marriage of convenience trope. This is the kind of book that relies more on characters than realistic plot, and yet both characters felt like they were just going through the motions and checking off boxes to get to the required happy ending.
There are two major conflicts between Isaiah and Victor, which felt like one too many. The first is Isaiah’s reluctance to begin a new relationship after the death of his husband three years prior, and the second is the clash between Victor’s outspoken personality and Isaiah’s desire to be quietly gay and avoid the spotlight. Since the story felt like it was rushing through so much, neither conflict got enough attention, and the second conflict in particular felt haphazardly addressed.
Though I labeled this with the sports tag, it didn’t feel like a sports romance, as Isaiah’s career as an NFL football player is hardly mentioned. The story takes place in the off-season, so there are no practices or games involved, and very little sense that Isaiah plays sports professionally outside of the occasional conversation with the team’s general manager. One thing that struck me as strange is that while Victor is loudly protesting the treatment of gay men in Russia because of current events in Chechnya, Isaiah is out, plays on a major American professional sports team, and was married to a man for many years. Yet the story doesn’t address this, and we have almost zero sense of how Isaiah is viewed or treated by his team, the media, or the public. For a story to condemn current issues around gay rights in another country but to quietly ignore current issues in the US was frustrating, to say the least.
His Convenient Husband is a tropey romance that will feel familiar if you’ve read any marriage of convenience stories before. It’s fine for a quick read, but don’t look too closely at the story, or it starts to fall apart.
A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.
A 2016 RITA® Award nominee, Robin’s books have won the Golden Leaf Award and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, the Book Seller’s Best and the National Reader’s Choice Awards.
She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.