Trope Sighting! Search for an Heiress, Finding a Penniless Maid

When the hero or heroine’s financial motivations for marriage (in Regency romance) nearly destroy their chance at true love

His Profit Motive: the hero is in dire financial straights (rarely of his making) and needs to marry an heiress, and almost marries the wrong woman or forsakes the woman he loves
Ex: The Untamed Heiress by Julia Justiss

Her Profit Motive: the heroine is impoverished and aspires to win a wealthy husband; almost rushes into a loveless marriage for wealth or overlooks the broke hero
(sometimes the wealthy hero is disguised as a poor man)
Ex: An Invitation to Scandal by Kelly Boyce

Responsibilities that necessitate marrying for wealth (so that the hero/ine doesn’t seem greedy)

  • a younger brother in need of education,
  • an estate with servants or tenants who need to be sustained,
  • one or more sisters who need dowries so that they can have the opportunity to marry for love

Related Post: Urgent Marriages in Regency Romance

I almost included the Profit Motives on the list of tropes for urgent marriages, when I realized that these motivations more often drive the hero and heroine apart than bring them together.

If my reading experience is an accurate sample, representative of the genre’s statistics, it’s telling that of all the drives for characters in the regency setting to get married, wealth is a negative rather than positive factor.

Even when the hero and heroine supposedly have good reasons to marry into money, and money falls into their laps in the end, they are made to choose love over wealth.

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