Miriam's Reviews > Promoted to Wife?

Promoted to Wife? by Paula Roe
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May 19, 11

bookshelves: unfinished
Read from April 15 to 19, 2011

As a romantic fantasy the affair-with-the-boss is at once more and less understandable than most formulas of the genre. On the one hand, it is relatively plausible -- many women work, and most workers at some point have bosses, and people do have workplace romances. You are a lot more likely to be groped by a supervisor than carried off by a sheik. On the other hand, rendering this scenario romantic seems a bit difficult. Of course being ravished by raiders of whatever ilk (pirates, sheiks, feuding Highlanders, etc) would not be at all romantic, either, but as a potentiality it is so removed from the lives of average romance consumers as to constitute pure fantasy. But the office is a realistic setting, hypothetically. Raise your hand if you've ever had a hot, unattached, billionaire boss? Now lower your hand if your boss never inappropriately touched you. Yeah, there's the really difficult part of the fantasy. If your boss is a decent human being, or sensibly concerned with sexual harassment laws, he will take off your glasses, touch your breast, tell you to change your hairstyle, talk about your body, ask about personal matters that you have explicitly requested to not talk about, call you at home for a ride when drunk, or push you against a wall and fondle you. If he does, sue him and then use the settlement to finance your career as a life coach live comfortably while finding a new job. Even within the fantasy structure she herself has created, Roe is unable to escape this distasteful issue of power inequality -- indeed, it appears to be inherent in the subgenre, which almost always features a woman in an ancillary role to the male love interest.

These comments are really general to a formula rather than specific to this book. This particular story was quite weak as to plot tension and the characters were cardboard. They wear boring clothes, seem to have few and generic interests -- jogging, shopping, listening to extremely well-known music. Even their descriptions of one another reflect a lack development. For instance, Emily describes her sister, with whom she supposedly has a very close relationship as "uncomplicated, straight-talking" and her sister calls her a "hyper-organized good girl with a strong moral compass." Please jump in I'm incorrectly generalizing from myself, but I never think of my family or close friends in this type of reductive pigeon-holing. Zac does the same sort of quick one-sentence-characterization of his brother. But maybe I'm naive in imagining that most people are smarter and less shallow than these characters. Books like this sure make that easy to doubt.
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Reading Progress

04/18/2011 page 55
32.0% "had she turned into one of cynical, hard-assed, man-hating females? Oh noes! Not a HARD-ASSED FEMALE! Not a feminist, eh, Paula?" 9 comments

Comments (showing 1-20)




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Miriam I seem to have hidden this book from myself.


Eh?Eh! Hah, saving yourself?


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch I agree with Elizabeth's comment/compliment.
I wonder whether this derives from the fact that the novel was worked up and supposedly (but not sufficiently) fleshed-out from a "bible" summary that complied with the publisher's requirements.


Eh?Eh! Terrific analysis, Miriam.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Plus, didn't she finally find her sister just a few years before the plot here? I know people who have found lost siblings after years, and while they often reconnect, it's usually edgy and tinged. Given the backstory of the heroine, I was often perplexed at how boring and conventional she was.


Miriam It didn't seem realistic, did it? I felt like the author was boring and conventional (that's how she makes herself sound in the bio) and couldn't figure out how to write a character from a different background.


Miriam but it also feels like it's the author's fantasy, which is probably not true

I think it is, actually. Didn't her front note say something like "I worked as a PA for 13 years. Too bad I never had a boss like Zac!"? (I returned the book yesterday so I can't check, sorry)


Miriam I hope her former bosses didn't read this book.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I hope her current bosses don't read this book.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch Her current bosses published it.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

True. I just was assuming most authors have a day job. I don't think many writers make much publishing anything, let alone numbered formula romance.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch I think she gets an advance of around $5K -$10K (probably $10K) for each book, and she tries to write one book a year, plus she gets royalties twice a year if she goes into profit.
I infer that she does go into profit, but she makes some extra money from designing websites.
She is married and has a ten-year old boy, so a lot of her time is taken up with the responsibilities of being a mother.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, there you go.


message 7: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Great review, Miriam! I'll definitely avoid this one (even the title seems a bit offensive to me!) Bleh.


Miriam It seems offensive to me, too, although I think that is a fairly prevalent attitude in our society -- marriage is a step "up" and married women rank higher than singles ones.


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch Miriam, your last comment is an interesting one.
I had interpreted the promotion solely as a promotion within the ranks of the masculine world and scale of needs (sort of like scaling the "stations of the boss").
I hadn't really seen it as a promotion over the ranks of other women, in other words, some of the gratification, if that's the right word, might come from the sense of satisfaction in being elevated above other women.
Which is doubly worrying. Although obviously some women do feel that way.
Thanks for the insight.


Miriam I think there are definitely women who regard it as a competition to get married before (or have a fancier wedding, bigger ring, etc) other women. More widely I think there many, many women (and some men) who regard it as a necessary goal to meet rather than, as I tend to regard it, a happy coincidence. I suppose the difference is primarily one of attitude. Mine is "I love this person enough to spend my whole life with him! Bonus!" not "OMG I must have a man or I am a pathetic loser and everyone will despise me." At my university students used the expression "ring by spring" to describe the goal of being engaged before graduation.


Eh?Eh! I've heard "M-R-S degree" and it kills me. My first dorm roommate was going for that one...bleah.


Miriam I taught for a year at an all-women college where that's the degree about 2/3 of the students were going for. When I asked about post-graduation plans the standard response was "I'm going to teach kindergarten/1st grade for a year or two until I have a baby, then I'll stay home."


message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch I was reading that as "Married as a Result of Study" until the penny dropped.
I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet.
Most of my male peers went to uni to learn how to play golf, drive a BMW and find a wife, anybody's wife.


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