Book Review: Mary Balogh’s The Arrangement (The Survivors’ Club series, book two)

 Title: The Arrangement
Author: Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors’ Club
Genre: Historical romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 400
Format read: paperback and ebook
Rating: A-

Blurb:

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?

Review:

While it’s true that this read lacked any major conflict and drama, the characters themselves were just so earnest, sweet, and well-intentioned that I just had to love them–and the book by extension–anyway.

The Arrangement was a satisfying read all around. I loved the idea of a blind hero–and the differences between how his family treated him and his blindness (We must protect him! We must do everything for this poor, helpless boy!) and the way Sophie and Vincent’s fellow members of the “Survivor’s Club” treated him was very telling. I especially enjoyed all of the ways Sophie came up with to help her new husband deal with his handicap and become more self-sufficient–it’s exactly what the overly coddled hero of the first few chapters needed.

Really, the only drama in this book–beyond Sophie’s Cinderella-like existence in the beginning–came from the minds of the hero and heroine themselves. They definitely could have solved their “problem” much earlier with an honest conversation, but at the same time I completely understand why they didn’t–neither was willing to risk what they had together without a little more encouragement from the other.

In a nutshell: if you’re looking for a big, dramatic read–you’re not going to find it here. If, on the other hand, a sweet and gentle story about two characters who are perfect for each other gradually discovering that fact is what you’re after…then look no further than Mary Balogh’s The Arrangement. A- rating.

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