Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley

Publisher & Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 12, 2013

Time and setting: 1814, London, England

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Length: 352 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

Ruined through her vile brother's schemes, Eleanor Chivenham is offered rescue by marriage to a rake with an infamous French mistress. Eleanor accepts, determined to treat the arranged marriage with cool dignity. 

Then she meets Nicholas Delaney. Not only does he stir her senses, but the trouble and pain beneath his smooth exterior reaches her heart. 

Nicholas is indeed troubled. While serving his country by seducing secrets out of a French spy, he is persuaded to marry Eleanor to protect his family's honor. But such chivalry runs counter to his carefully wrought rogue image, and extends the life-threatening plots shadowing him to Eleanor. 

To assist, Nicholas reassembles the Company of Rogues, a schoolboy group he started years before. But not even they can dampen Eleanor's fighting wit that is quickly unmasking their enemy and testing Nicholas' formidable will. 

Best Regency Novel, Romantic Times 
Bookrak Bestseller 
RITA, finalist 

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Vikki’s Musings

I have been a huge fan of Jo Beverley’s for many years. Recently as you are aware, I have gotten into audio books. While I read An Arranged Marriage quite a few years ago, I decided I want to revisit the Company of Rogues series and what better way to start than with the first one. I vaguely remembered the characters, but none of the details of the plot. I’m so glad I listened to this astonishing book!

Ms. Beverley has taken quite a few liberties that as a newbie writer, I’ve been told are big no-nos. Firstly, the heroine is raped in the opening scene, but Ms. Beverley handles this so well that she immediately captured my attention and held it throughout the book. It is a horrendous scene and the rapist is doing it under extreme duress. He is actually the hero’s brother, a man in fear of his very life if the truth ever came out that he preferred men. As you can see, very compelling and riveting!

Secondly, the hero commits adultery, another issue that is frowned upon. Again, Ms. Beverley makes it such an essential part of the story that she has my heart aching for Nicholas and what he has to endure at the hands of the very evil French courtesan, who is suspected of trying to put Bonaparte back in power. Not only does he have to commit adultery, he falls desperately in love with Eleanor, the woman he felt obligated to marry to get his brother out of his troubles. Again, a horrid circumstance that moved me to tears on several occasions.

This is not a story for the faint of heart. It’s messy and emotionally- charged throughout the entire book. Poor Eleanor’s situation is truly heart-wrenching from the first page until the very end. At times, I even wondered if this couple would have a happy ending, but a lass it is romance and dear Eleanor and Nicholas do have their “happily ever after”, one that is well deserved. They had to walk through fire to get it!

If you enjoy a story that will tear at your heart and have you sitting on the edge of your seat, then I highly recommend this fantastic book. Just remember you have been warned it is not a heart and flowers kind of tale. Of course, Ms. Beverley’s novel rarely are. Happy reading!

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