Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

arrangementReviewed by Jen

I really, really enjoyed this book. I was a little nervous about picking it up because The Proposal did not rock my world.  This installment, though, definitely did.  If you are not familiar with The Survivor’s Club series, it follows seven men and women who were damaged in some fashion during the Napoleonic Wars. In this novel, the hero is Vincent, the youngest of the group. He is 23 years old, a viscount with a doting family, and he is completely blind.

As the story begins, his well meaning mothers and sisters are smothering him with kindness and trying to maneuver him into marriage … for his own good.  Vincent’s response is to run away with his valet to return to his childhood home.  He just wants to take control of his own life and his own future.  He isn’t interested in marriage at all. But what if he could pick his own wife?  Surely, that would get his family off his back and get him closer to the independence his craves.  So when a young woman goes out of her way to help him out of a jam, it seems a grand idea to repay the favor by asking for her hand.

Sophia has managed to survive the last five years as a poor relation by knowing when to keep her mouth shut. But when her manipulative cousin tries to trap Vincent into marriage, she steps in to save him. She loses her home as a result. Only Vincent is there to give her an alternative to homelessness. He offers to make her his viscountess. He doesn’t see her as the ugly, scrawny mouse that everyone else sees.  She gets a chance to reinvent herself at his side, while repaying his kindness by being the best wife she can possibly be.

I loved these two together.  I loved how resilient they both are. You’d think being blind and having panic attacks would make Vincent a tortured hero, but it doesn’t.  He has problems, yes, but he never wallows. He finds new ways to live!  And Sophie is such a wonderful combination of gentle and fierce. I loved watching her come out from under her mantle as the mouse and really evolve into an independent woman and worthy partner to Vincent.  It is so gratifying to watch her help him become self-reliant.  They are kind to each other. They are supportive.  And they are still sexy. These characters balance each other so well.

Like The Proposal, there isn’t really an external conflict, but I found myself much more sympathetic to their internal ones.  Maybe it was because they helped each other overcome their obstacles: Vincent with his blindness and Sophie with her insecurities.  It’s not angsty, but I enjoyed their journey,.

Ratng: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Arrangement
by Mary Balogh
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Dell


  1. I agree with you about The Arrangement; I thought it was a first rate novel. I had hesitated, to be honest. I feared that my yen for escape and fantasy wouldn’t accommodate a disabled hero. I’m so glad I didn’t let it get in my way. I enjoyed both lead characters, and delighted in Sophia’s ingenuity when it came to adjustments to restore Vincent’s opportunities to enjoy life again. I went on from this novel to read the rest of the series, and enjoyed every one of them. Go Mary Balogh!

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