Series: The Survivor's Club #2
Published by Delacorte Press on 08/27/2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
A mesmerizing story of passionate awakening and redemption, Mary Balogh’s new novel unites a war hero consigned to darkness with a remarkable woman who finds her own salvation by showing him the light of love.
Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, flees with his valet. Blinded by a cannon blast on the Napoleonic battlefields, Vincent needs time alone to heal and reflect, away from the well-meaning meddling of his family and those who run his vast estate. But anonymity proves impossible even in the rustic reaches of a country inn, and soon another marital trap is sprung. Luckily, he is saved in time by a stranger with a captivating voice that stirs something deep inside. And when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may be blind but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage. Yet he never imagined a wedding of convenience would open his heart to a love he never expected.
Quiet, unassuming Sophia may be invisible to nearly everyone, but even a woman unflatteringly called “mouse” isn’t going to stay silent when an unsuspecting gentleman is about to be trapped into marriage. At first, she rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome and heartbreakingly vulnerable man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate.
But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As they conspire to help each other find a new place in the world, friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure. Dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?
In my continuing effort to read historical romances by authors I’ve never read before, I read The Arrangement by Mary Balogh after reading Jennifer’s review. This was my first foray into Mary Balogh’s books, and it was a pleasant trip.
Vincent is definitely the best part of The Arrangement. He’s part of the Survivor’s Club (a group consisting of men, and one woman, who have survived the war). During the war, Vincent lost his sight, and he’s been blind now for awhile. He’s really adjusted to it, and at the time of the story, has accepted his blindness. Vincent doesn’t bemoan this fact, and I loved that about him.
Not that being blind isn’t difficult, and he was upset about it when this accident first happened. But he has accepted that this is his life now and he’s making the best of it. Vincent is quite young to be the hero of a romance novel. He’s only 23, and he is very naive because of it, I think. He doesn’t have a ton of sexual experience, and I liked that too. Vincent is honorable, but he has a hard time telling his mother and sisters no. So he flees them, and in the process meets Sophia.
Sophia is one quiet heroine. Her life has not been great, and the last few years she’s been the ward of her aunt and uncle. She’s pretty much ignored, and she’s very lonely and used to being by herself. But she has to help Vincent when it becomes clear that her aunt and uncle are trying to trap Vincent into marriage to Sophia’s cousin. The end result is that she is kicked out of her home. And what else can Vincent do but offer to marry her in return.
The best way to describe The Arrangement is to call it a quiet book. It’s really drama free, and Vincent and Sophia are never one to cause conflict with anyone. While I did enjoy watching these two discover that they do love each other after they are married, I can’t say my heart was pounding with joy when they finally admitted their feelings. The Arrangement is a pleasant, quiet book about two pleasant and quiet people. While I’m intrigued to read more from this series, at the same time I’m not clamoring to get my hands on these books either.