Mary Balogh continues to prove why she is a pillar in the historical romance genre with this second book in the Survivors’ Club series. The Arrangement touches from the very first page, the characters enchant until the very last, and the plot is quite good.
Miss Sophia Fry is a woman alone in the world. She lives with relatives as something of a charity case, but her kin show little love. She is treated lesser than a servant, ordered to say little and stay unseen. She considers herself plain and unbeautiful, but vanity does not trifle her. Sophia dreams of spending her days in a cottage of her own, far from the demands of her relatives.
However, Sophia’s dreams vanish when she rescues Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, from being compromised by her scheming cousin. Her relatives banish her from their home for meddling in her plans, which prods Vincent to propose marriage to Sophia to save her from destitution.
Sophia accepts the proposal from Vincent, a former soldier blinded in warfare. She escapes poverty, and Vincent finds independence from his overbearing mother and sisters. While this arrangement starts out with mutual benefits for both parties involved, love begins to form between the plain woman and blind ex-soldier.
I loved this story for the characters. Sophia is a strong woman and a dreamer, but my weakness was Vincent’s blindness. Even though he could not see Sophia, even when his childhood friend said Sophia was far from a beauty, he listened to his own heart. He came to love the woman who cared for him. Just—uh. I loved the pairing of these two characters. If the book has one weakness, it is the slow pacing in parts of the plot. However, the characters’ charm more than redeems. I highly recommend this book.