The Arrangement/Survivors Club #2- Mary Balogh

 

Yes, I know I’m two weeks late posting this, but it’s still March! At least in the part of the world I occupy…my apologies to any Aussies who are already playing April Fool’s Day pranks—if you do that down under.

 

But I digress. I’m here to talk about my March #TBRChallenge, which is a book or author that’s been recommended. Two of my CPs are big Mary Balogh fans and a couple of years ago; I met her at a conference. Lovely woman, and Tory and Susie have often said that her writing is lovely as well. So when I saw March’s challenge, I thought of reading Mary Balogh. When I discovered this book in my TBR pile…it was fate!

 

The Arrangement is the second book in her Survivors Club series, which centers on a group of friends who served in the British Army, and have all been wounded in some way. The Arrangement’s hero, Vincent, Viscount Darleigh, was blinded in battle. Back  home, he’s feeling smothered by his loving, but meddling family, who have decided that he needs a wife/caregiver.  After one more botched attempt by Vincent’s mother to find a suitable bride, the handsome young viscount and his valet escape to his country home.

 

Miss Sophia Fry, poor relation to a neighboring family, has scars of her own. She’s insecure about her looks, and about the scandalous demise of her baron father, a gambler who was killed in a duel. Sophie, an artist, sees herself as a mouse who watches from a corner as others live their lives. Honest to a fault, she foils her cousin’s plot to trick Vincent into marriage, and ends up cast out. Grateful to Sophie and feeling responsible for her predicament, Vincent marries her.

 

My friends told me that Balogh writes wonderful beta heroes, which she does. Not only is Vincent rich and handsome, he’s a kind, courageous man, who is determined to live a full life without sight. The gentle way he brings Sophie out of her shell, and the ways Sophie’s bright mind helps Vincent recover his independence, were my favorite parts of the book. There’s a wonderful chemistry between them which brought a smile many times. Balogh’s writing is beautiful, and the story unfolds at an unhurried pace. 

 

While the book can be read as a stand-alone, the scenes with all the members of the Survivors Club were a bit confusing, and it would have been nice to have a bit more background. But those scenes are not a large part of the story, and I found the rest easy to follow. There are no big dramatic moments in The Arrangement, just good people trying to find love, forgiveness and a place to belong.

Good call, Tory and Susie! Now I’ll be recommending Mary Balogh!