Imagine walking up to someone and being introduced only moments before the minister pronounces “I declare them husband and wife.” What next? What about the emotional baggage? This is what Christie Ridgway explores in her book “Then Comes Marriage”. The comedy takes place in Hot Water, California, where wealthy heiress Honor Witherspoon marries Bram Bennett a man she has never met. Bram is the former owner of Enigma Company, which develops security devices for the rich and famous. He sold his “baby” to none other than Warren Witherspoon, Honor’s father. Mr. Witherspoon works a deal to keep Honor safe after her recent kidnapping, and who better to protect her than Mr. High Security himself, Bram Bennett.
Bram himself has emotional baggage after the death of his first wife, Alicia, who dies in a car jacking. Every evening he goes to her grave to ask questions that haunt him. He is unhappy about being saddled with this rich, “princess”, who will want to leave the small hick town of Hot Water before the next full moon or UFO sighting which ever comes first.
Honor is trilled with small town living. She feels that she truly is safe in this gold rush town. After having been bounced around from boarding school to boarding school she is looking for a place to call home. During her kidnapping, Dylan Matthews an agent who is held with her, tells her about the town he’s from and about Bram Bennett. She is convinced that this is where she can finally belong.
Warren Witherspoon sends his right hand man out to Hot Water to deal with some problems at Enigma. Josh McCool spends time with the newlyweds trying to figure out how long he has to wait before he can steal Honor from Bram and marry her himself. He has two plans to be successful and make gobs of money. Plan A: Convince Honor to marry him, thus he becomes wealthy by marriage. Plan B: Take care of the “little problem” at Enigma, make the boss proud and get a raise and promotion. Earn the money.
The “little problem” at Enigma seems to be more trouble then he expects because Beau Caruso has seen a UFO and his contact with the aliens happened on property that Enigma has plans to build on. Beau is sure the aliens will return and he camps out on the field with other ET hopefuls making construction impossible. Josh McCool’s job is to move the trespassers along.
To complicate matters, Josh has a physical hankering for Bram’s housekeeper, Mia, whose father is none other than Josh’s biggest problem, Beau Caruso. Everyone works with Josh, for their own reasons, to convince him that he should wait before calling the sheriff.
Meanwhile Honor and Bram are getting to know one another as a married couple. From Bram’s disappearing act every evening to Honor’s ability to destroy all things computerized, the couple develops a relationship. With pushes and shoves in the right directions they learn to laugh and love.
The extenuating circumstances that keep them apart are very tragic and frightening, but through out the book themes of comic relief surface and keep the book entertaining without being dark. From the opening pages I found myself thinking about Alicia’s carjacking and Honor’s kidnapping because I was totally engaged in the story. Ridgway does a sensational job of creating characters we can care about, and a plot that keeps us engaged and always asking what might happen next. It is a very satisfying read.
Michelle Libby, May 2003