A Daring Arrangement
By: Joanna Shupe
When Lady Honora Parker’s father refuses to let her marry the artist who has claimed her heart she is sent to her Aunt and Uncle in New York City in disgrace. In a plan to change her father’s mind she sets out to find a fiancé so horrific that her father will reconsider his decision to let her marry the man she thinks she loves. Seeking out the most unacceptable candidate for marriage she can find she settles on notorious financier Julius Hatcher. When Nora and Julius agree to a daring arrangement they discover that maybe what they think they want is the last thing they need.
A Daring Arrangement marks the debut of Joanna Shupe’s Four Hundred Series and continues Shupe’s clever and unconventional take on historical romance. This author’s trend of smart heroines and heroes worth winning continues with her leads in this work Nora and Julius. The romance genre can never have enough empowered women and men who are supportive of them. As demonstrated in this work this author shows that love does not need to come at the expense of giving up her heroines’ identities. Expressing characters thought processes and interactions while maintaining historical accuracy and creating scenarios that modern readers can relate to and buy into is not easy, yet Ms. Shupe seems to do so effortlessly. Her detailed enthusiastic descriptions of the Gilded Age transport readers for an authentic experience and a rousing story.
Joanna Shupe’s portrayal of Nora took a beautiful face and refreshingly made it take a back seat to her heroine’s intelligence. Nora’s refusal to accept other’s dictating her fate was further strengthened by her creativity in deciding her own future. This author took her hero Julius and had him struggle with being taken seriously as his sharp mind was often overshadowed by his handsome facade, questionable past and wild ways. The more these two characters got to know each other the clearer it became that they had under estimated each other based on the conclusions of their initial superficial observations and interactions.
Julius and Nora’s immediate attraction further spurred by their genuine curiosity in each other was fun to watch develop as they found numerous excuses to deny that they were interested in more then their original arrangement. What made the chemistry between this couple so intense was it was more then just physical they were becoming friends. As these two became familiar and the burden of secrets was removed they grew to value each other moving this story quickly. With a raw sexual undercurrent Nora and Julius kept the pages on simmer for most of this book and literally ignited them when they finally confronted their attraction directly. Dark plotting and a historical backdrop richly interwoven into this story created an amazing immersive feel of facts and emotions that felt as close to reliving the Gilded Age through the eyes of this author’s well drawn portrayals as you could get. Joanna Shupe has given historical romance an invigorating dose of love and history with A Daring Arrangement.
*I was given an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own.*