Friday, January 20, 2023

Fiction Friday: Proxy Brides


Fiction Friday: Do I Know You?

The concept of proxy brides began almost one thousand years ago when marriages among royal and noble families were more about contracts and treaties and maintaining a dynasty than falling in love. As one site put it, the marriages “were designed to cement alliances or provide a balance against regional political problems. Often, the intended bride and groom were not in the same place (or country!). Sometimes, they were too young, and proxies acted on their behalf.

Making these arrangements often happened when the intended couple were children, but also infants or newborns. Twelve was the legal minimum age for marriage, but most proxy weddings didn’t occur until the bride was fourteen or fifteen. The ceremony was exactly the same as a “regular” ceremony, but with a stand-in for the groom, either a close family or a highborn nobleman from his country or region. Legally binding between the bride and real groom (not the proxy), the marriage would then be celebrated with banquets and festivities before sending the bride to her new home.

Although not necessary, a second ceremony would occur with the real groom, kicking off more
festivities and celebrations, which gave the groom’s family a chance to show off the new bride to their people. Few brides and grooms married by proxy saw each other prior to the wedding, although they may have corresponded while growing up, if they’d been betrothed as children.

If the unthinkable happened, and the groom or his family disliked the bride, the legally-binding proxy wedding prevented them from sending her home. The wedding could be annulled, but that involved a lengthy process of appeal with the Pope.

Some of the more well-known proxy marriages included Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, James IV to Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor and Louis XII, and Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Today, proxy marriages in the US are only available to military couples in Montana, California, Texas, and Colorado.


The Proxy Brides series is a multi-author collection of happily-ever-after novellas. Grab one or grab them all!

Here are my contributions to the series:

A Bride for Seamus:

Can two people set aside resumptions, prejudices, and pain to find love?

When her father dies after a lengthy illness, Madeline Winthrop is horrified to discover his will bequeaths their home to his business partner, a cruel and dishonest man, leaving her destitute. With no job or marriage prospects, she seeks help from her pastor who suggests she considers becoming a mail-order bride. There’s just one catch. She’s to marry the man by proxy before ever meeting him.

After three mail-order brides refuse to stay and marry Seamus Fitzpatrick because of his brother’s mental health issues and two rambunctious children, Seamus decides a proxy marriage is the only way he’s going to secure a wife. When the Boston-bred socialite arrives with few practical skills, he wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life.

Purchase Link:

A Bride for Keegan 

The past clashes with the present to jeopardize their future. 

Fiona Quigley’s parents came to America for a better life, but illness and the Civil War took them from her. Now, she’s barely scraping by as a seamstress to Boston’s elite. A chance for a new start arises in the form of being a mail-order bride, but to her dismay, she must marry the man by proxy. Once they’re wed, there will be no turning back. 

After being jailed one too many times for protesting against the Unionists in Ireland, Keegan O’Rourke heads for America—land of the free. He takes advantage of the Homestead Act to create a farm in his new country, but he has no one to share his success, so he advertises for a mail-order bride. They wed by proxy, but after she arrives, he discovers his Irish lass hails from the northern reaches of the Emerald isle—the very area he fled.

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