Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe

I discovered Joanna Shupe listening to an audiobook “The Courtesan Duchess” since that audiobook I have devoured her “Knickerbocker” series ( A must read). I was so disappointed to discover that the publisher would not be continuing with the series but so excited when I heard that she would be 1) Writing for Avon, 2) Continue writing about the Gilded Age and 3) be starting a new series. When “A Daring Arrangement” her first book in “The Four Hundred” series was available I could not wait to read it. So often times when we anticipate something it can either be exactly what we had hoped for or fall short. Well Shupe never falls short and I LOVED “ A Daring Arrangement.” I need to learn that I cannot start one of her books late at night without expecting to be up way past my bedtime!

What made this such a great story?? What didn’t? First, our heroine- Lady Honora Parker. We are first introduced to her when she is having tea in New York City with her aunt-acting as her chaperone and a would-be- but not really- suitor. Nora has been exiled from England from her father. She has committed the horrible act of falling inlove with a starving artist and her father absolutely will not accept the match. So he sends her to New York to live with his sister until she can find a suitable match. Nora is desperate to go back home and be reunited with her love- Robert. While having tea with her aunt and a man she has absolutely no interest in, their gathering is interrupted by loud noises coming from a very wild party right above their heads. This is where Nora learns about the very notorious, Julius Hatcher. Julius is very wealthy financier but of no linage whatsoever. Julius gained his wealthy through his very cleaver head for business and math. Although Julius is wealthier than many in high society, he cannot gain their acceptance. The more Nora hears about Julius the more she realizes that he is absolutely wrong for her and her father would never approve of him. So what better reason that to be seen with him? Have rumors reach her father about their upcoming engagement and more reason could her father need to call her back to England? There is only one little problem with her plot. Julius has no idea who Nora is.

Nora decides that she needs to take her fate in her hands. She excuses herself from her aunt and guest and finds Julius. She has just the perfect arrangement for him. He pretends to be courting her, she provides him with the entrance into high society that he as always wanted and ultimately she is returned to England to be reunited with Robert-her true love. What could go wrong?

Where to begin?? I absolutely loved Nora. She is bold and brazen and as also very vulnerable and seeking a deep connection to her father that she has never had. Julius has his own baggage. For years he has unsuccessful tried to find out who the men that were responsible for his father’s business failures and ultimate suicide. Thanks to Nora he can gain access to the men that knew his father and betrayed him. Both Nora and Julius have much at stake with this fake engagement. In order for people to believe they are engaged they have to spend time together and the more time Nora spends with Julius and he with her, the more they realize that affairs of the heart of more complicated than either of them imagined. Shupe writes some very touchy and steamy scenes and its impossible for a reader not to champion for both Nora and Julius. For me this had all the makings of a great love story. Great hero and heroine, fun supporting characters, great plot and a little subplot- who was responsible for Julius’ fathers downfall? What will Nora do about her feelings for Robert? All great questions! My next question is when is the next book?

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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