Meredith's Reviews > Confessions from an Arranged Marriage

Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: brits, historical-fiction, romance, 2012
Read from March 31 to April 02, 2012

Originally published on The Librarian Next Door:

Miss Minerva Montrose has high ambitions for her future. She has every intention of marrying a respectable gentleman with political aspirations, a man she will then help along in his career. With one eye on the office of Prime Minister and the other on the latest political reform pamphlet, Minerva has no time for a wastrel like Lord Blakeney. Though he may be handsome, Blakeney has no intention of settling down and marrying a proper young lady, not when mistresses to be had and games to be played. But when Blake accidentally confuses Minerva for another woman and the two are caught in a scandalous embrace, they find themselves forced into an arranged marriage neither wants. Though Blake and Minerva slowly start to get to know each other, Blake still has a big secret, one he’s desperate to keep and there will be a battle of wills as Minerva fights to win her way into his trust.

Miranda Neville is another author I’ve been introduced to, thanks to The Ballroom Blog, and like the other talented author ladies, she writes heartfelt, emotional, well-developed historical romances. Confessions of an Arranged Marriage is actually the fourth book in Neville’s Burgundy Club series, though it is the first in the series that I’ve read (what can I say – I’m a sucker for arranged marriage stories). Thankfully, this novel clearly stands on its on and you don’t have to read the previous books to understand and appreciate Minerva and Blake’s story. Characters from the previous books do show up, however, so rest assured, I’ll be going back to read the first three.

Minerva and Blake’s relationship is so satisfying and rewarding because of their initial mutual dislike. Each finds the other frustrating and it’s so much fun to watch them learn to rethink their assumptions and discover whole new sides to the other person. Like Tessa Dare’s own Minerva, Neville’s Minerva is unconventional and unique. She is highly ambitious and deeply interested in the political process, especially with regards to political reforms. Neville does an excellent job of fleshing out the political realities of the early 1800′s and detailing the role the aristocracy played in influencing elections and political power plays. It’s a fascinating look at Parliamentary government without being dull, since Blake is around to keep things entertaining.

Though I liked Minerva quite a bit, it is Blake who captured my interest and empathy. Though outwardly a rake who seems to have not a care in the world, Blake hides a lot of himself from the world, terrified that his secret will be discovered and he’ll be ruined. So instead, he plays the role others have forced upon him, never truly admitting how much he wishes he could be truthful. It’s heartbreaking to watch Blake struggle so much for his father’s approval and feel like he will always come up short. Neville writes about Blake’s secret with sensitivity and realism; though in today’s world it might not be a big deal, I truly believed that Blake thought it would bring about his ruin. (And yes, I’m being deliberately vague because I don’t want to spoil anything).

With Confessions of an Arranged Marriage, Miranda Neville takes a familiar story – the man and woman forced to marry because of scandal – and gives it new life with her exploration of Regency politics and the relationship between Blake and Minerva. The result is a novel that goes beyond simple romance and a couple who finds out that the last person they wished to marry just might be the very best person for them. Once again, The Ballroom Blog steered me towards a new author who is quickly becoming another favorite.

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