“Thank you, but no thanks, I would prefer to earn money for my brother’s surgery. I might not be rich, Mr. Maslow, but I’m not a charity case either…I may lack class and status, but I do have dignity and self-respect. Thank you for your time, Mr. Maslow…” (Marrying the CEO, Chapter One)
“After a bland ‘I do’ from the both of us, then the exchanging of rings, the priest gave Gideon permission to kiss me. Gideon bent his head and softly kissed me. His kiss had butterflies fluttering in my belly, but those butterflies died the moment his lips left mine, which was after a few seconds. Gideon’s kiss held no emotion, yet it awoke butterflies in my stomach that I didn’t even know existed.” (Marrying the CEO, Chapter Five)
Alice never thought that she would be in this position; she is applying to become the wife of wealthy businessman Gideon Maslow. He is offering one million pounds in exchange for a woman who will produce an heir within a year; she needs his money to save her sick brother’s life. Alice is rejected by Gideon, who ridicules her poor upbringing and lack of money. When he offers her money for her brother’s surgery, she refuses to take his charity.
Gideon changes his mind and convinces Alice to marry him, though she doesn’t want to any longer. He is able to guilt her over her brother’s condition and she finally accepts his proposal. The two marry, though Alice finds it difficult to adjust to the lifestyle of a millionaire’s wife. Alice is frustrated by the secrets Gideon keeps from her, though she finds herself enjoying his touch. Will Alice and Gideon fall in love, or will their relationship end when their contract is complete?
I understand that Alice doesn’t want to accept a rude man’s charity, but her refusal to marry Gideon after he offers the position doesn’t really make sense to me. I get it, she was insulted by his rudeness in the office and she has her pride, but her brother is in danger of dying at any moment. She has already shown her willingness to marry a stranger for money in order to save her brother’s life, but then she tries to refuse Gideon several times. She is an amazing sister and caregiver, so I find it shocking that she would not marry Gideon because her pride had been hurt, since it means saving the life of the only family member she has left.
On the surface, Gideon is looking for a bride because he wants to produce an heir. His contract stipulates that his wife must provide him an heir in less than year, a feat that may prove difficult. While I can suspend disbelief pretty well, the bride of Gideon would have to fall pregnant within the first three months of marriage in order to honor the contract’s tight deadlines. If she fails to produce an heir, she gets no money. But three months is a very short time frame to get pregnant (and Gideon doesn’t even vet the potential brides for the medical ability to have kids, though he does want them to be virgins). If his bride “fails”, will he continue doing year-long contracts until he has a kid? Also, is Gideon willing to accept either a boy or a girl for his heir? Would the contract be void if the bride produced a girl within a year? You could sink a ship with the number of holes that exist in this marriage/child producing contract.
Gideon’s pretty gross. His lack of understanding around reproduction is evident in the above paragraph, but he only gets worse as the story progresses. He believes that virgins are more likely to get pregnant than a woman who has had sex before. When Alice refutes his statement and challenges the lack of science or data backing his belief up, he merely shrugs his shoulders. He also insists on separating Alice from her brother Nico, who is a ten year old with a fatal heart condition, because he wants to be his new wife’s first priority.
I am curious why Gideon chose Alice after initially rejecting her, though I think can guess. While his interviews were filled with beautiful and confident women, he clearly liked the fact that Alice was willing to fight back against his cruel words. She was probably the only women willing to argue with him instead of trying to marry him for his money (even though the marriage is tied to a cash prize). Alice is the stereotypical “spunky” girl that captures the interest of the male love interest because she is “different from other girls”.
This is a really minor point, and I can’t claim any expertise in the healthcare system of England, but wouldn’t Nico’s surgery be covered by the national healthcare system? I could understand if Nico were on a wait list, but I was a little confused as to why Alice would have to raise a million dollars in order to have the surgery take place. Again, I don’t know enough about the NHS, but it felt odd that Alice would have to shoulder so much of the surgery’s cost.
Overall, Marrying the CEO has the tropes and patterns of a successful romance novel, but it has too many issues to be really great. The male love interest is pretty gross and the marriage contract at the center of the novel has an incredible number of plot holes. Marrying the CEO may be enjoyed by some readers, but it is not a perfect novel.