THE ARRANGEMENT by Mary Balogh

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I can’t believe I’ve never read this author before – Balough is one of the queens of the Regency romance, and now I know why.

This is the second book in the series, which focuses on a group of men who all sustained injuries during a battle. This book centers around Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, who was blinded when a cannon misfired.

Our heroine is Sophia Frye, born a lady but whose father was a rake and a gambler and cut off from his family. When her mother left, he raised her but when he passed, she was left in care of family members who didn’t care about her and barely kept her fed and clothed.

Lord Darleigh’s family is determined to get him married, and he escapes their matchmaking attempts to return to his hometown, and a ball is thrown in his honor. Sophia’s aunt and uncle are determined that he shall marry their daughter, and a scheme is hatched to get them in a compromising position and force the issue.

But Sophia interferes, enraging her family who throw her out into the night. Lord Darleigh hears what happened and approaches Sophia with an unusual arrangement. He is tired of his family’s matchmaking and he knows he needs a wife; she needs a place to live and someone to take care of her. An arrangement is reached, and within a week of meeting, they are wed.

Sophia is bright and imaginative, and it was fascinating seeing her come up with ideas to give her blind husband more independence, including what has to be one of the earliest examples of using a guide dog.

This is a richly detailed story with warm, engaging characters and a happy ending, of course. A terrific read and I look forward to exploring more from this prolific author – she has written more than 60 novels.

8/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ARRANGEMENT by Mary Balogh. Dell (August 27, 2013). ISBN 978-0345535870. 400p.

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