Saturday, May 27, 2017

Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

Synopsis: Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So 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 have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage. At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome 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 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? (from the online description)

Review:  Intrigued by a romance novel with a blind hero, I picked this up with interest. It was typical of your Regency Romance novel, with only a few things that lifted above mediocrity.
I commend Balogh on how she wrote her hero. Vincent is blinded in battle at 17, and spends three years recovering at the home of his friend, a Duke, who opened his home to wounded officers after the death of his own son in the Napoleonic Wars. Balogh captures the nature of suddenly going blind well – the PTSD, the panic attacks, the reactions of others to his sudden disability, and his own character growth. It was well done and at points his reactions elicited strong emotions from me.
But sadly, this excellence didn’t bring the story much above ordinariness. Too many titled people, bland sex scenes, and slightly unbelievable actions on the part of the hero and heroine. Some of Balogh’s secondary characters had more complexity than one normally finds in romance novels (not surprising given that most of them star in their own stories later), but others were like stock romance novel characters.
Overall, this is a mindless read, fun and relaxing, without anything to sway it towards either good or bad. 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-345-53587-0
Year Published: 2013
Date Finished: 5-22-2017
Pages: 380

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