Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Early Review of A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred, #1) by Joanna Shupe

Title: A Daring Arrangement: The Four Hundred Series
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Four Hundred
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 31, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062678892
ISBN-13: 978-0062678898
Author's Website: http://www.joannashupe.com/
Notes: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
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She wants to find the most outrageous fiance so her father will ship her back to England.
He wants entrance into New York's polite society.
The plan is simple--they will pretend to be engaged until they each get what they desire.
Everything goes according to plan until a crazy little thing called love gets in the way...
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Shupe and I loved how refreshing it was. I don't think I've read a romance book that delved into the Gilded Age when America was first coming into its own. Lady Honora Parker is the only child of an Earl and he's shipped her to America in hopes she'll find a suitable husband after she botched up her chances in England. She, however, has plans to get back to the young painter who stole her heart. Her scheme is to make a deal with the most inappropriate suitor she can find in hopes her father will ship her back to England. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the man she picks ends up being much more than she ever expected.

Julius Hatcher is one of the richest self made men in New York. He's also comes with quite a scandalous reputation for being the "scourge on everything decent and upstanding in the city." He brashly spends outrageous sums of money on parties that are over the top and other equally frivolous things. He's handsome as sin and the gossip pages have printed many a story about his sordid affairs over the years. At face value he seems the perfect man to fill Nora's plan, but there's more to Julius than meets the eye. Plus, he has his own secret agenda.

Lady Honora 'Nora' Parker was young and desperate for attention when a young man hired to paint her portrait took advantage of her. She thinks herself worldly, but she's rather naive when it come to the opposite sex. She fancies herself in love, but doesn't know the first thing about it. Julius is nothing like anyone she's ever met. He believes in working hard and playing hard. He's also smart as they come and in Nora, he'll meet his match. For while she may at times seem irresponsible and impulsive, there's hidden depths to her character that he'll slowly begin to discover and come to admire.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I love the time period and location that this story is set in, and hope the rest of the series follows suit. It's a time when huge fortunes were amassed in a short period of time. A time when the American dream was more attainable then any other time, but corruption was rampant. It was a fun, sweet, and charming romance that made me shake my head, laugh, and grin while keeping me glued to its pages. I adored watching these two fall in love. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned 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.

Notes to keep you in the know:
The inspiration for one scene is this book came from the above picture of a party on horseback given by C. K. G. Billings in Sherry's ballroom, New York City, on March 28, 1903. The source of the photo is the Washington Post which published it on page 1 January 25, 1914. The Photo was take by Byron Company and is now part of the public domain.

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