I'm reading this -- not dog-eared, but dog-chewed -- copy of An Unlikely Romance. (The Uncrushable Jersey Dress review is here; their discussion on the book is here.) In it, Krijn proposes marriage to Beatrice (aka Trixie) because he needs to finish his book on endocrinology. (Oh, come on -- all you authors and writers out there, admit it: a wife would make your life easier, if for no other reason than to have someone answer the phone and say, "Brilliant Genius residence. No, I'm sorry, Brilliant Genius is not available. Perhaps I can help you?")
In a variety of ways, Neels telegraphs to the reader that Krijn is not in love with Trixie-Beatrice when he proposes, or rather he has no clue that he might be in love with her. So his motivation is pretty basic: he may be unconsciously attracted to her subtle qualities of intelligence, decency, and mousiness, and in all that see someone he can stand to marry and then ignore. If he were being brutally honest, he would acknowledge that by marrying her he's giving up any hope of falling in love himself. Further, his offer exchanges Trixie-Beatrice's opportunity to fall in love freely for her financial security. Also, she will be rescued from both an unhappy home life (orphan raised in cold household of aunt & uncle who consider Trixie uninteresting and unattractive) and an unappealing career. (Trixie has trained as a nurse, but her superiors make it clear to her that she's not exactly taking the profession by storm.) He is, in the tradition of all Neels heroes, rich with nice homes and the generosity to insist she buy nice things.
Thus a marriage of convenience makes sense from his point of view. She's not nearly as good looking as he is, but he doesn't care about appearances (other than to be well, if conservatively, dressed) and his friends -- mostly professional colleagues -- don't care either. He's perhaps lonely, and may have some instinct that just a bit more social interaction would be a nice addition to his life. He volunteers to take Trixie-Beatrice shopping, which is absurd from any rational perspective -- the average husband doesn't much like accompanying his wife on shopping trips for her clothes -- but might show his commitment to the marriage. He knows he wants a wife for social purposes, and said wife should be appropriately dressed, so some passive encouragement may be called for. (He accompanies her but doesn't actually help her pick out clothes; in effect, he helps her spend his money).
Why, though, does Trixie marry him? She says yes with no emotional connection, but at various points in their "engagement" she reflects that she could change her mind. She quickly sees, though, that she loves him. She may have gotten engaged for one set of reasons, but she's marrying him because she's in love and so not marrying him would be even worse. My question, then, is why marry someone you believe is not in love with you? (It should be said that Krijn isn't in love with anyone else, either, although that never stopped a Neels heroine from fearing the worst more than once before the denouement.)
Freud thought mental health (and thus the goal of psychoanalysis) was to love and to work. Wouldn't we add the ability to be loved, to see oneself as a worthy object of love, to that list? Trixie doesn't think that she's worthy of being loved (her aunt and uncle will have reinforced that impression), which is surely a factor in her decision to marry Krijn. But she's on notice even before the wedding that Krijn sees her differently than others do. He accompanies her to Aunt Alice's house to announce their engagement, and he can see how negligently she is treated, and how differently Aunt Alice treats him. Trixie can hear it in his voice, and his respect and regard for her is strengthened when he refers to her as "Beatrice" in front of Aunt Alice.
Now, about these two names. Her given name is Beatrice, but when she was orphaned, Aunt Alice insisted on calling her Trixie even though Alice's own daughter Margaret gets no such demeaning nickname. Betty Neels isn't one for nicknames; Euphemia remains Euphemia, Cassandra doesn't become Cassie, and so forth. So why is Trixie not only called Trixie by her family, but referred to as Trixie in the third-person when it's her own POV? Only Krijn calls her Beatrice, refers to her as Beatrice, and thinks about her as Beatrice.
I kept expecting Neels to do something clever with this, like have Trixie's third-person POV name shift (finally!) to Beatrice when she learns she's loved by Krijn. But no, even in the penultimate paragraph, Trixie is still Trixie.
I have some experience with this. I was christened Magdalen because there was a tradition of naming one's offspring after one's siblings (a tradition not entirely dead in the most recent generation, but certainly on life-support) and my aunt is Magdalen. (She was named for her grandmother, who was named for some Magdalen before her.) That tradition came from my mother's family; my dad's rule for baby-naming was that the name had to have a nickname. (He was named George, which has no good nicknames, so his own experience may have had something to do with all this.) Ergo, I was called "Maggie." (Use it and your motherboard will die a horrible death.)
I tried other names, but when I'd finally grown up enough to see myself as worthy of such an unusual and handsome name, I told everyone that's what I wanted to be called. (I asked Ross what one word he would use to characterize my name, and he said "dignified." I guess I still have some work to do to live up to that!) It was a huge hassle, I was told, and many of my family members took a long time (up to and including "never") to get used to the change.
For me, though, it was a matter of identity. I wasn't "Maggie" and when that sense of being misnamed got acute enough, I insisted on being called by *my* name. (As I pointed out to my mother -- one of the people who never made the change -- it's not like I had picked a name at random and was insisting on being called "Krystal" or "Tiffani." This was the name they had picked, after all.)
Back to Trixie. She uses the name her unloving relatives gave her, but somehow Krijn sees through that and calls her by her "rightful" name. That's an act of respect, certainly, if not attention. It's not enough on its own to get Trixie-Beatrice to assert her right to be loved. That takes the slight attentions of Andre, one of Krijn's extended family, who sends Trixie flowers and *shock* telephones her to arrange for platonic meetings. (Tellingly, the card accompanying the bouquet uses the name "Trixie," which is intriguing as she must surely have been introduced to all of Krijn's family as Beatrice.)
It's not that Andre's attentions trigger Beatrice's self-confidence so much as they show her what she's missing from Krijn. Eventually -- as happens with almost all Neels heroines -- her misery causes her to do something drastic, which in turn prompts the hero to show up finally ready to be honest with her and have her be honest with him.
That's the risk with the marriage of convenience in romance novels: the hopelessly tangled misunderstanding. (I would imagine the risk in a real life marriage of convenience might be falling in love with someone else, or perhaps having the immigration peeps find out it's a sham...) Because the principals have married a) without declarations of love, and b) with sufficient evidence that they will never fall in love, it's then hard to c) reveal that they are in love for fear it's one-sided and makes the situation too awkward.
One last thing: There's no sex in Betty Neels' marriage-of-convenience plots. Of course that's consistent with the chastity expected in Harlequin Romances back then, but it's almost necessary in these books. I don't believe that sex leads to love, but it does lead to intimacy. If the reason neither admits loving the other is the risk of awkwardness from unrequited feelings, sexual intimacy might be a short-cut out of that dilemma. The blurted "I love you," is a cliche, but it's also less risky. You can deny it when you're upright and dressed again. You can assume the other didn't hear it, and the other can play deaf.
In a Neels marriage of convenience, the sense I have is that sex would be so personal and so intimate that it couldn't happen comfortably -- for either protagonist -- without the avowals of love. I don't believe any of her heroines was frigid, but shy and more than a bit nervous. (They, it goes without saying, were all virgins. Frankly, many of the heroes might have been virgins, or have had just enough sexual experience to "tide them over" until they married for love.)
The kicker is that you need sex to have kids -- more Neels heroines agonize about the fact that their marriages of convenience won't result in kids than feel sexual deprivation. They look sad when the housekeeper shows them the nursery and other child-appropriate rooms. They are wistful when introduced to other couples' children. There's no connection of procreation with sex; no Neels heroine ever ever ever dreamed of seducing her husband just to have a baby. On the other hand, there's no exhalation in relief at the end of the book when she realizes "Yippee! He loves me, so he's going to sleep with me, so I'll get preggers." Being loved is enough.
The reason, I think, that Trixie's still called Trixie at the end of An Unlikely Romance is that she finally knows -- as a factual matter -- that Krijn loves her, but I suspect she needs a little time to absorb the reality of being loved. Part of the HEA, thus, is that eventually she stops being Trixie (the name of the unlovable niece) and starts being Beatrice (the much-loved wife).