This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
for Arranged Marriage, An (reissue)
Date of Review: 06/26/03
This is the first romance novel I have read where the hero spends at least 3/4 of the book sleeping with another woman.
Jo Beverley strains the boundaries of political correctness in AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE, her most controversial story I have read to date. There is no denying Ms. Beverley is a master storyteller and perhaps because of this political incorrectness she delivers a powerfully fresh stage for her story.
Eleanor Chivenham is drugged by her manipulative brother and raped by an equally drugged Lord Delaney. Lord Delaney hazed into the brutal act and not quite having his wits about him completes the deed but comes back the next day to find out exactly what happened. Upon meeting Eleanor planning to jump to her death, and understanding a child might come from this act, concocts a story that it was actually his twin brother Nicholas Delaney who stole her maidenhood. A marriage is arranged, and Eleanor and Nicholas are soon married.
She quickly discovers that it was not Nicholas who raped her, but his brother. Nicholas, a charming and handsome man is soon off spending time with his mistress. Serving his country, Nicholas is actually involved in a plot to foil the mistress who is involved in Napoleonic activities. Eleanor finds she is with child and also that she loves her dreadfully neglectful and cheating husband. Nicholas, knowing he will be gone most of the time, has surrounded her with his Company of Rogues, a group of handsome and dashing young men to act as her protectors and escorts.
The hero Nicholas is not one I liked much at all. His sleeping with this mistress for the greater good of the country and at the expense of his marriage is hard for any woman to swallow I think. The very idea that this romance began in a rape, although not by the “hero” is still distasteful and gives a dark shadow over the entire story. That said, the story is incredibly engaging and tightly woven from start to finish and is a very entertaining read. Jo Beverley once again takes us for a ride and doesn’t let go until the end.
This is Book 1 in Jo Beverley’s Company of Rogues Series.
**Do not be misled by the 4 rating for Sensuality, this book is outstanding. There was not many sensual scenes between the hero and heroine and the ones that were there did not get a high rating in this category. Overall Rating is a 9 out of 10.