I maintain that Rachel McMillan is one of the coolest people that I’m privileged to know. I so very much admire her passion for smartly written – and smartly read – books and if she recommends a book it automatically goes on my TBR list.
As she shared with me a little bit of her intentional writing choices for Rose in Three Quarter Time, I knew I wanted her to share them here with y’all too! Her heart behind those choices speaks to my own heart for this type of fiction, as well. I’m so excited about this story!
Some people marry for love; others marry for music…
Rose McNeil is rising the ranks at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a violinist to watch. Her musical Nova Scotian heritage has loaned an unparalleled technique to her interpretation of some of the most beautiful compositions in the world. The opportunity of a first chair assignment to the Rainer Quartet under the baton of Oliver Thorne is a dream come true— until her visa expires and the threat of leaving Vienna looms. As much as she grieves the prospect of leaving Vienna and the quartet, it is Oliver—with his dry sense of humour and unexpected charm- she will miss most.
British ex-pat Oliver Thorne’s recent appointment as conductor to the Rainer Quartet make him the youngest in the role during its prestigious history. But it wasn’t the path he wanted. A tragic accident years ago forbade him from ever playing his beloved cello again. Now he spends his life teaching and guest conducting for premiere orchestras at the Musikverein. When he first hears Rose McNeil play, all the dreams he left by the wayside are reborn with her unexpected talent. When Rose learns she may have to leave Vienna, Oliver has to come up with a solution. Losing his first violinist is unfortunate, losing her is unimaginable.
So he comes up with a crazy idea: A marriage on paper only. She’ll take his name and his citizenship. They’ll split rent money and coin toss to decide who takes the bed or the the futon every night. They’ll keep their secret from the orchestra. She’ll play and he’ll conduct and, most importantly…she’ll stay.
Unbeknownst to each other, Rose is in love with Oliver and Oliver is in love with Rose. They might even find a happy ending, if only their pesky marriage doesn’t get in the way.
See Hope By The Book‘s review of Rose in Three Quarter Time HERE
In my new Vienna-set contemporary romance, Rose in Three Quarter Time, I champion abstinence. Neither my hero or heroine are Christians and they are married by the 50 percent mark.
I know… I know what you are thinking. So let’s take a step back…
In the general market historical romances I read, the marriage of convenience trope (my personal favourite) is often pursued to procure an heir to carry on a lineage or to secure an inheritance or estate, and consummation on the wedding night is required. Often with need for legal proof (ick!). In few cases is this act anywhere near a romantic union. Most often it is pursued and demanded by the hero with the heroine timid, embarrassed and only reticently learning that there can be intimacy or passion in something required. Rarely are the two emotionally connected. Most often they are near strangers doing something to save the family estate or keep a wicked uncle who wants to compromise the heroine’s dowry at bay. Sure, they often enjoy it but seldom recognize its creation by God for the purpose of marriage in the right way.
In Rose in Three Quarter Time, famed expat conductor Oliver Thorne marries his first violinist Rose McNeil so that she can stay in Austria and play in his orchestra when her VISA expires. On the morning of their city hall wedding, Oliver marries the woman he is madly in love with whereas Rose merely signs a few papers with a close friend to ensure ability to stay and play in Vienna.
The sexiest thing about Oliver Thorne, the hero of my story, is not the fact that he sweeps my heroine off her feet in a grand gesture (the smallest, seemingly insignificant gestures seem to touch Rose the most), nor the fact that he dazzles her with the Casanova-like skills so second nature to the Earls and Dukes and Rogues in general market romances. The sexiest thing about Oliver is his commitment to his marriage vows and to the pursuit of deep emotional connection. He respects and loves his heroine too much to take advantage of a moment, to give into passion, to pursue anything of a physical nature with her until he is sure that they have both committed in the same way. No matter their legal marital status. His vows mean everything — in recitation and in action— and any doubt he might harbour that she might not be on exactly the same plain, keeps him from giving into a passionate moment. He will not pursue anything with her –no matter the depth of his love and desire for her, no matter if they are in every legal right to do so, until he knows without a doubt their marriage is a marriage in every sense of the word. He wants the best version of marriage for the both of them, even if it means a commitment without some of the * ahem * usual benefits.
When we speak of abstinence and purity in marriage, it is often backed with the traditions, conventions and expectations of religious upbringing. Today, for a non-religious man with none of these ties or expectations or history to enact with the same deep moral code, Oliver seems rare and almost revolutionary. His not being a Christian, to me, made my statement even stronger. My strong belief in abstinence is not just a result of my religious upbringing and practice; rather deeply met with my lifelong romanticism. I truly believe in the sanctity of romance in marriage as much as I do God’s given instructions. To me, they go wonderfully hand-in-hand.
So I take the ingredients of the marriage of convenience trope and use it intentionally to make a statement about emotional commitment in an age where sex is often a commodity –or worse still— complacent. Both Oliver and Rose admit early in their friendship that they get tired of its expectation in their romantic pursuits. Oliver would rather a celibate marriage with vows he committed to for life than compromise his deep moral code at the expense of his respect for Rose.
A general market romance editor might throw this manuscript against the wall. Whereas I hope that it makes my readers’ hearts go pitter patter.
Often, in an age where writers with a Christian worldview (like myself) are publishing books that are not necessarily filled with overt Christian content (again, myself), I see a tendency for readers to project what is deemed missing in the story’s inspirational construct. Comments voice the limitations and project what they feel is missing to make an organically spiritual tale. In some comment chains, even if the book is not listed as Christian market fiction, the very fact that the author is a believer is brought up in a dissatisfaction with the content. For all surface intents and purposes, this book is prime for this kind of scrutiny.
A supposed absence of the Gospel Message.
Yet, at core, I advocate one of my deepest convictions and exercise one of the most Christ centered values of my entire existence.
Does that mean that non-Christian readers will be bashed on the head with a tract on abstinence? Absolutely not, Rose in Three Quarter Time is an adorable love story featuring a once in a life time friendship against the backdrop of glorious Vienna (with several nods to Bodie Thoene’s Vienna Prelude if there are any other fans out there).
Does that mean that the story is boringly chaste and passionless for those who want some swoon in their romance? There is no way I would pursue the journey of two people so suited for each other as soulmates and perfect life-partners and then not give them every last aspect deserving of their happily ever after. So, yes, you will get some knee-knocking swoony times between two people whose chemistry sizzles and sparks never more so than when it is pursued in the right way. The intended way.
Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts series (Harvest House) and the Van Buren and DeLuca series (Harper Collins). Rose in Three Quarter Time is the second in her Vienna-set series of contemporary romances and releases September 30. Rachel lives in Toronto, reads too many historical romances and is obsessed with Vienna.
Rachel McMillan is offering a Kindle copy of Rose in Three Quarter Time to TWO of my readers. Open internationally except where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you the most about this book and/or Rachel’s post?