Review of “A Daring Arrangement” (The Four Hundred #1) by Joanna Shupe

Shupe, Joanna. A Daring Arrangement. New York: Avon Books, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-06-267889-8. $7.99 USD. 

2.5 stars

I received a free copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Joanna Shupe’s previous series, the Knickerbocker Club, were the first books I reviewed on this blog, and for the most part, I really liked them, and was happy that, though she changed publishers, she was continuing with the same setting. However, this book was something of a disappointment. It’s not a “stay-away-at-all-costs” disappointment, but more of an “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” disappointment.

The basic concept of of British woman pairing up with an American man is a much rarer concept than the reverse, and I was intrigued by the concept. Both the leads have their good points, with Julius being a hardworking man who stands out in a genre of old moneyed aristocrats, and Nora being a woman who is not interested in marrying for wealth or status. And the idea of a fake engagement that stars to feel all too real is a fun concept to run with.

But this is yet another plot where I had difficulty suspending my disbelief. I can accept that people perhaps did have discreet affairs in this time period, but when they chose to consummate their relationship, they both acted like there was no need to make the relationship a permanent one, due to their misunderstandings about each other’s evolving motivations. But they just sort of acted like they could do whatever they wanted because they were fake engaged, and not worry about any consequences. Considering her backstory, and her father even asking her at one point if she was pregnant from her past liaison, one would think they would take precautions if they both assume that they’re going to part ways.

And the angst. At first, it felt genuine, like just a part of Julius’ backstory. But when he immediately assumed that she should have someone better than him with blue blood and whatnot, when she has made it obvious from day one that she didn’t want any of that, I found it a bit tiresome.

On the whole, it was a decent effort, but lacked the spark of the books in her previous series.


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