Author: Mary Balogh
Provided 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?
Review: My only complaint about the regency romance novels that I typically read is that they always contain a plot element in which the man and woman are at odds with each other about what will be at the end of the relationship. By this I mean that they are usually convinced that the other does not love them, even when there is plenty of evidence to scream otherwise. The Arrangement by Mary Balogh did not differ from other stories since it contained the mentioned element, but it did surprise and delight me with it’s main characters.
Has anyone else ever read of a hero in these stories who is blind? Because I have not. Vincent had been blinded during his time as a soldier in the Peninsula Wars. His handicap has meant that the women of his family are in a constant flutter around him to attend to his every need. He wants to be free; he wants to have independence. So he devises an arrangement with Sophia to be his bride so that he may be rid of his family’s smothering attention and she might have a home to call her own. Sophia, likewise, was another unique character; she is an artist who draws caricatures to satire the situations she observes around her as an invisible member of her extended family. Both Sophia and Vincent brought out the best in each other. I loved to read about them falling in love and doing things to inspire independence and confidence within the other. This is the type of relationship that I want to have!
I don’t think this is a story that is surprising by any means plot wise, yet I still believe that many will enjoy it due to the endearing nature of the main characters. Both of them are such kind and lovable personalities that you want something happy to happen to them, and you are so pleased when it does. Balogh is also a wonderful writer that was able to connect the reader to all of the senses to describe characters and settings. Since Vincent is blind he has to rely on his other senses, and the author conveyed his point-of-view with stirring insights into what he feels and smells.