Sunday, April 29, 2012

Confessions From an Arranged Marriage (The Burgundy Club, #4) by Miranda Neville

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     Surveying the room, his glance came to rest on her. His lips twisted into a derisive half smile and their eyes met in mutual displeasure. He shoved his back away from the wall and ambled over to her.
     "Our dance, I believe, Miss Montrose." He hadn't changed one bit.
     Minerva felt a strong desire to slap his arrogant face. "Lord Blakeney," she said with the merest hint of a curtsey. I believe 'our dance' was over half an hour ago."
     "This one will do just as well."

Miss Minerva Montrose had a plan and it was a good one. She wanted to be close to a man who would wield political power and be his helpmate. She knew her politics and had hand picked the man she felt would be the best candidate for what she was looking for in a husband and his name was Thomas Parkes. She'd selected him based upon newspaper articles which discussed his "budding" political career. She'd managed to capture his attention and hoped he'd offer for her soon and that they could be wed before the end of the season, but that was before Lord Blakeney ruined everything...

Lord Blakeney was a scoundrel. His parents, the Duke and Duchess of Hampton, had hoped his self imposed two year exile to a country estate had curbed his wild ways and gotten him to grow up. Upon arriving back to London, however, it became clear it hadn't as he seemed to pick up his bad habits where he had left off. Tonight he managed to be late to the opening of the ball his parents were hosting. The Duke and Duchess were presenting Miss Minerva Montrose to the ton for her first season. He and Ms. Montrose were acquainted and shared a mutual aversion for each other. He had no intention of spending any more time than necessary with the "ambitious miss"'. He only wanted to get back to his newly acquired mistress. In a strange twist of fate, of his own making, he changed everything when he accidentally mistook her sleeping form for that of another. When the two were found in a compromising position, he'd ruined her in the eyes of the ton and thereby sealed and intertwined their fates. The two would have to wed.

I truly enjoyed this book. Minerva was such a fun character and I liked her from the very beginning. She was an ambitious woman living in the wrong time. A time when women were not thought to be good for much more than breeding, needlepoint, and looking pretty. Can you even imagine being intellectually equivalent or superior to a man only to have your opinions scoffed at because of your gender? Minerva had hoped to find a loophole to her circumstances by marrying someone who would admire her for her brains and not just her beauty. When scandal forced her to marry a man who looked to be the exact opposite of what she wanted, she thought her hopes and aspirations were dashed.

Lord Blakeney (aka Blake) was thought to be a lazy handsome devil who was undeserving of his future position as a Duke. What nobody, but a select few, knew was that he had a secret. He attempted to hide his reading difficulty by feigning disinterest. In a time when learning disabilities, like dyslexia, were still unknown, he struggled with both reading and writing. He'd always felt a bit of a failure and was embarrassed by it.

At first I really disliked Blake. His resentment of his father's treatment of him for not being able to learn manifested into a rift between the two that seemed insurmountable. His plans for vengeance, which involved Minerva, were unfair. She entered the marriage in good faith and had no clue why he acted the way he did. Luckily, he later redeemed himself in my eyes, and I ended up adoring him. While it took some time, the two slowly began to like each other and then things quickly heated up between the two.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed all the turmoil and misunderstandings. I liked how the drama that was unfolding was set against the backdrop of a politically charged period in time, a period of reform. The contrasts between Minerva being both vulnerable yet strong and innocent yet wise were fun. The story gives us a lovely glimpse of the woman she'll become and the marriage she and Blake will share. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.


  1. (sorry if this shows up twice, my first comment disappeared!)

    Nice review. Blake sounds interesting, a challenge to hide a learning disability during this time. Though if he hadn't he most likely would have become an outcast.

    1. Lexi,
      I agree. I've read a few stories that have a historical hero with some sort of learning disability. Having one is still a challenge today, but without having a name for it or a way to overcome or deal with it would be awful. My daughter has a learning disability which was really difficult for her when she was younger. She couldn't hear all the sounds in a word so in order for her to get a decent grade on her spelling tests she had to do some serious memorization. Before we had a name for her condition and an explanation as to how it affected her it was a very trying time for us both. I thought Ms. Neville did an excellent job of portraying how someone would have dealt with such a condition all those years ago.


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