I have stuff going on in my personal life right now (as do we all from time to time) so I found myself ready to check out of reality for a bit and sink into a safely fictional reality where things end happily. Off to Romancelandia I went to visit Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club and check off the Brain Candy square for bingo.
The Arrangement is the second book in the series, and I’ll admit that I was a bit put off by which characters were going to be our focus having enjoyed the romance of people in their thirties in the series opener. In The Proposal we’re introduced to the entire Survivors Club, including youngest member Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh who was blinded in the war at the tender age of 17. Now 23, he’s determined to reclaim his adulthood from the women in his family who have dedicated themselves to making his life easy. Their latest trick is setting up him up with a wife. Vincent is decidedly against anyone who understands and realizing the woman they’ve set him up with is as truly uninterested as he, takes off with his valet without word for his family.
As his travels bring him to his childhood home he runs across Sophia Fry who is living with relatives. When Sophia’s cousin attempts to trap Vincent in marriage Sophia steps in to stop it, costing Sophia her place in their home. Feeling responsible for her destitute state Vincent convinces Sophia to marry him – and agrees to a classic marriage of convenience arrangement – a year of proper marriage and then they can each be on their way to independent lives.
It’s a bit of a slow burn, even with the marriage of convenience bringing the characters together quickly. Balogh accounts for the relative youth of her characters (23 and 20) and the inherent inexperience they each bring to the table in all matters and achieves a sweet love story. The last third is plagued with the usual problems in this trope: communication issues and could have been trimmed by about forty pages without hurting the narrative structure in any way. I’ve landed at 3 stars, and remain interested in the rest of the series, even though I’m now nervous about book three, which features the only member of the Survivors Club who did not appear on page in this installment.
Bingo Square: Brain Candy
(This review makes my tenth bingo square and I am *at least* two books away from a bingo, but really closer to four based on reading order from the library. I’m starting to wonder what is the most bingo squares I can achieve without making my first bingo…)