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The Marriage Price by Alma Katsu

The Marriage Price by Alma Katsu is another short story from The Taker series and it reunites readers with Jonathan’s hometown just before he marries child-like Evangeline.  Told from Evangeline’s point of view, readers will get a taste of her less than innocent side as she talks of the finery and the house that will be hers once she is married to Jonathan.  There’s is clearly not a love match in more ways than one as Jonathan’s family chose her for him, and she clearly has ulterior motives of her own.

She’s a naive girl who is chosen by his family to become his wife as Jonathan’s father declines in health. While Lanore from The Taker and The Reckoning does not appear in the short story, her presence is clearly felt by Evangeline, who — while naive about the sexual relationships between men and women — is not blind to the emotional connection between Jonathan and Lanore.

Evangeline’s character becomes more nuanced through this short story. Although she is portrayed as innocent in The Taker and even child-like, she is more of a strategist in The Marriage Price. She’s looking forward to the big house and the finery she can obtain through her marriage, and while Jonathan is preternaturally gorgeous, his behavior toward her is forward and aggressive by her standards. Their relationship is more student-teacher, though Evangeline’s eyes are more on the prize than on the “love” they can share together.

“Now, it was all she could think about, those shameful things Jonathan had coerced her into doing. That was why she was certain a woman would come forward on her wedding day: it would be a punishment for what she did with Jonathan before they were legally wed.” (Kindle short story)

Katsu creates a dynamic subordinate character that can stand on her own and gets a taste of what her married life will become.  Evangeline may have thought she would gain a great deal through her marriage, but she may have fooled herself into believing that what happened between them in the marriage bed would stay there.  The short story raises questions about arranged marriages, marrying for money and position, and the dark secrets that spouses can hide about not only their pasts, but also their passions.

About the Author:

Alma Katsu is a 30-year DC veteran who lives in two worlds: on one hand, she’s a novelist and author of The Taker (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books). On the other hand, she was a senior intelligence analyst for CIA and NSA, and former expert in multilateral affairs.  Check out this Interview With Alma.

This completes my first series for the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2012.

  • mercadeo internet

    I was so excited to read this short story by Alma Katsu. The Taker is one of my favorite books from 2011. So, I loved this delve into Jonathan’s past. You already get the gist of his philandering in the town of St. Andrew. But in this you get to see it from Evangeline’s point of view. You can tell how she tries to hold her own but just gets snowplowed by his charm, personality, bullying ways. And how she realizes what is in store for her future as Johnathan’s wife. Loved it!
    mercadeo internet´s last blog post ..No last blog posts to return.

  • Cathy Mayhue

    I have read this book and honestly loved the story and look forward to many more about the little known characters. I had read The Taker in 2011 and I was simply impressed with it. So when I heard about this one, I immediately bought it! Trust me this short story lived up-to its expectations.. Highly recommended!

  • I was surprised by how much I like these books. I definitely need to check out the short stories.
    Julie P.´s last blog post ..Review: In the Shadow of the Banyan

  • I’m just listening to The Taker on audio and enjoying it. I’ll have to look into these short stories.

  • Ti

    I am with Anna. I am not sure the series is for me either but I enjoy your take on them.
    Ti´s last blog post ..Review: Norwegian Wood

  • I’m still uncertain whether I’d like this series, but I’m glad you enjoy Katsu’s writing so much. 🙂