Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville

April 17, 2012
A standard Romanceville arranged marriage?  Not really.

I love marriage-in-trouble romance stories!  And, I've had a hankering for one. Confessions from An Arranged Marriage hit the spot.  A lot of the time, this story reminded me of some of the older traditional romances, the ones before Mary Balogh, by such authors as Mira Stable, Rachelle Edwards, Margaret Sebastian, Iona Charles, Freda Michael, and Sandra Heath - only this one had sex in it.

What made me think of older romances was our hero, Blake.  He has a mistress you see.  So what, you say.  A lot of heroes have mistresses.  Yes, yes, my dears, but this hero does not drop the mistress as soon as the heroine appears.  I find it interesting that in more current romance novels, the hero has been celibate for a year or so when the heroine first steps into his line of vision and he can never think of another woman for the rest of the story.  So, it didn't bother me that Blake doesn't dump his mistress right away.  In fact, I found it more realistic than the no-sex-in a year routine.  And, it was a nice change, added a little bit more tension. 

Unlike a lot of the more modern historical romances, you don't necessarily like this couple. Both Minerva and Blake were interesting characters and they both came with some baggage.  It was very fascinating watching all that baggage unravel.

Let's start with Minerva.  Minerva has political aspirations.  Or as much aspirations as a woman of that time period could have. She wants to be the great hostess for her husband.  She wants to be the woman behind the great man, maybe even the woman behind the next prime minister.  So, she's ambitious and she wants an ambitious man.  Now, did it throw me a little that she was only 19?  Not really, I think that some women in that time period had influence in the political arena.  Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire comes to mind, although, she may have been a little older than 19.  I also try to remember my 19-year-old political mind and I believe I was pretty involved in the whole process.  I was also a little idealistic, just like Minerva's character.  So, I bought her political neediness.  And, you could also see her immaturity peeping through in her snobbery and inability to accept the flaws of others.

And, let me tell you Blake had a lot of flaws.  He is handsome (this is a flaw for Minerva), loved by most women, loves horses, loves to drink...he's an all round ne'er-do-well.  He does his bad-boy-rake routine with gusto. 

By the way, these two people don't like each other.  At. All.  And, it's not one of those pretend dislikes, while all the time secretly lusting...no-siree.  He thinks she's boring, selfish, and tedious and she thinks he's a womanizing horse-mad idiot.  They were made for each other.

Things happen, they are forced to marry, he has a secret, she misunderstands.  All those things which happen in other books; however, the way Ms. Neville slowly has this couple solve all their problems was a treat.  It wasn't a quick fix, and there were times I wanted to yell "tell her now," but I liked the pacing of Ms. Neville's story and I wouldn't have done it any other way.

When the story was over, these two people love each other and I was pretty sure that their marriage would last.   My biggest complaint with the story was the political doo-dah (I have lost my youthful zeal) and the long explanation over what bill was being passed and why. I like Blake, could feel my eyes glazing over.  Overall, I would recommend this story.  Confessions from an Arranged Marriage takes its time slowly building the romance, and I savored every minute of it. 

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot

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