Category Romance Review: The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb


The Book

The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb may not have the worst hero in Harlequin Presents history, but he certainly ranks in the top twenty–or forty. Okay, may the top 50. Harlequin Presents has a bunch of crappy heroes in its past!

Romances about adultery are difficult enough to pull off. When you combine that plot type with a male protagonist who, if classified by scientific terms would be considered non-Newtonian fluid, you get a wall-banger that requires great force when tossed across the room.

The Plot

Sancha is a harried housewife with a handsome, workaholic husband named Mark. She’s getting on in age, while Mark is getting better each year like a fine vintage wine.

She is a stay-at-home mother responsible for cooking, cleaning, raising the children, and keeping her husband satisfied. Sancha works hard on the first three, but she’s been neglecting her final “responsibility.”

The twin beds in her bedroom don’t help. Those became a habit when the twins were young and Sancha had to get up for midnight nursings and nappy changes.

Sancha and Mark have been married for six years. Well, you’ve heard of the seven-year-itch.

Mark has a charming secretary in the office. Capable, beautiful, attentive, and young.

Sancha starts receiving letters hinting that her husband is getting down and dirty with someone during his late-night work sessions. Is Mark having an affair with his secretary? Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure looks like he is when Sancha catches them out at a late-night dinner.

Sancha’s life crumbles around her. Even as it does, she decides like any good woman from the lyrics of Country Music to fight for her philanderous man.

It’ll be over my dead body.

So get out while you can

‘Cause you ain’t woman enough to take my man.


Sancha gets a makeover and decides to be sexier, but now Mark thinks his wife is getting sexy for other men! Could things get any worse?

The Revelation

Perhaps Mark’s twisted conscience led him to do what he did. For the truth is revealed: he is the one behind all the letters Sancha received. Mark sent them to his wife to motivate Sancha to fight for their marriage.

In truth, he was only planning to have an affair. Nice guy, right? Mark figured he could have his matronly wife tend to his children and home and have his sensual needs met by other women. Starting with his secretary, who was down for it!

But instead of banging her outright, he tormented his wife with anonymous letters, making her re-evaluate what was important–HIM!

So Mark dumps the floozy of a secretary. Sancha promises never to get too harried by her many responsibilities. Mark will always come first. (Yeah, he seems like that type.)

“See that? How much I want you?”

“As much as you wanted her the other night?” she asked bitterly, and he shut his eyes, groaning, turning away.

“Oh, not again! Do we have to bring that up again? Forget Jacqui!”

“I can’t. Can you? Working with her every day, seeing her, being alone with her? You may not have slept with her–but you hadmit you almost did. Is she going to accept the end of the affair?”

The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb

Final Analysis of The Marriage War

I’ve mentioned before how Charlotte Lamb is one of my two most beloved authors in the Harlequin Presents line. I’ve given her more 5-star ratings than any other writer of those books. But she’s also written a lot of clunkers. This is one of them. Oh, boy, did I hate this book!

Mark was a paramecium scum-sucker. Not worthy of the title of “man.”

Sancha was a bland, reactive character, not too many rungs above her husband in the animal kingdom.

I love Charlotte Lamb, so I’ll forgive her for this hideous attempt at “romance.” Out of 160+ books published, there are bound to be bad ones. And was this one ever that.

File The Marriage War under suck-suckity-suck.

.5 Star


Something worth fighting for!

Sancha’s first instinct was to burn the anonymous letter. Its malicious message couldn’t be true: Do you know where your husband will be tonight? Do you know who he’ll be with?

Sancha adored Mark now as much as when they were first married, even though family life meant that they were no longer so close. She’d never dreamed that her tough, handsome husband would fall into the arms of another woman!

The battle was on – though when Sancha confronted Mark, she discovered the physical attraction between them was as strong as ever. But she wouldn’t let herself be seduced by him…. Not yet!

The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb

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