Book Review: The Arrangement
Publisher: Dell, August 2013
I’m always embarrassed to show covers like this one. “For goodness sake,” I say, “You’re in public. Button up your shirt!” If I were reading this out in public, that picture would be covered. One of the reasons I love my Kindle – no one can see what I’m reading. (N0, I’m not a prude – I just have standards.Ha!)
In addition, the cover doesn’t match the story. For one thing, the main character is fair-haired, not dark. It also implies that this is a steamy, sex-filled romance novel. It’s not. As I said the other day when I shared the first paragraph, this is a love story, not a romance novel.
The first big difference is that the main character is male. Most romance novels center around a female. In The Arrangement, the author, Mary Balogh, spent almost the first quarter of the novel developing the character of Vincent Hunt. I’m so glad she did because that set the whole agenda for the rest of the story.
Vincent Hunt is only twenty-three when the story opens and, already, he is a war-hero. He’s also blind. But, in the hands of Mary Balogh, this is one of the most positive characteristics of this guy. All of his other senses, including his sixth-sense, are highly developed. He works very hard to make his blindness an asset and not a handicap. His greatest wish is to be independent. And, by the way, he is very good looking and someone who smiles a lot.
Vincent grew up in a small Engish village. His father was a schoolmaster. The family was happy, loved and established on good basic values. After his father died a prosperous uncle bought a commission in the army for Vincent, at Vincent’s request. He lost his eyesight in battle and is now released. Life is very different, but not just because of his blindness. A distant relative died leaving Vincent with a title and a nice sized fortune, and lots of property as well. He is now Viscount Darleigh.
One of the side-effects of being a single viscount who is fabulously wealthy is that almost all single women want to marry him. His mother and sisters are so determined to get him married that he runs away from his own home. He’s not really ready for marriage, but is determined that, when he does marry, it will be to someone of his own choosing.
Vincent travels around and finally ends up at his boyhood home and village. After narrowly escaping a marriage trap, Vincent sets out on a plan to marry a young woman of his own choosing – a young woman known as the “mouse.” After helping Vincent escape the trapped marriage, the “mouse,” Sophia Fry, is thrown out of her uncle’s house. She is destitute. She becomes Vincent’s chosen bride.
Sophia did not help Vincent so she could marry him. She did it because it was the honest thing to do. Vincent likes her and feels they are compatible. She could help him fend off the marriage-crazed women and he in turn could help her. So Vincent proposes an “arrangement” – a marriage agreement that will give both of then their independence and help them accomplish the other things they both want to do. It would have to be a true marriage, however, because Vincent has a duty to provide an heir. The “arrangement” says they would not be required to fall in love or live with each other all the time.
I think you can see where this is going. After all, it’s a love story and, of course, there is always a happy ending, I liked Sophia almost as much as liked Vincent. They were a good balance for each other and a good team. The story kept my interest and I just kept turning the pages. I definitely recommend this to all of you who are love story fans.
I’d like to say thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for my copy of the book. It was a pleasure.