A Daring Arrangement
by Joanna Shupe
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Book #1 in The Four Hundred series
Number of Pages: 372
Ages 15 and up
CW: stalking, fire
Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she desires. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course….
Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancé, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.
I enjoyed this author’s Uptown Girls series and The Knickerbocker Club series, so I decided to keep going with her books. Although I found this to be an enjoyable read in the end, it was much slower at the beginning than I expected. Both Honora (Nora) and Julius are quite likable and they do click with one another, yet there wasn’t enough to keep me engaged as I had hoped.
Of course, I love a fake relationship story. Yet, for much of the book, it didn’t seem Nora and Julius were a couple. The whole point of such a story, for me, is the characters being forced to not only work together but also physically be together over and over to realize how much they like each other. For the first half of this book that doesn’t really happen. Once it does, things move much more quickly. There was a lot of chemistry that was wasted for too long.
One of the things that kept me interested in this story as it progressed is that things weren’t playing out the way I had anticipated. Julius’ ex-mistress did not act in the way I had expected. Nora’s love who was left behind in England was not what I imagined. These things kept me coming back for more. Unfortunately, Julius’ part of the plot, the reason he agreed to the fake engagement, had a lot of holes in it and was wrapped up in a rush. So just as I was really getting into the romance between Julius and Nora, certain plot points were losing steam.
Although this was a slow starter for me and wasn’t as absorbing as some of this author’s other books, I will definitely be reading more from her. It was still a good read, just not a favorite.
Oh well, not every book can be a winner. Glad you still found parts of this to enjoy and what a lovely review.