Tuesday, May 8, 2012

REVIEW: "Confessions From an Arranged Marriage" by Miranda Neville

Confessions From An Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
(Burgundy Club #4)

Historical Romance--Victorian
Avon--March 2012
Paperback, 384 pages 


In London after a two-year exile, Lord Blakeney plans to cut a swathe through the bedchambers of the demimonde. Marriage is not on his agenda, especially to an annoying chit like Minerva Montrose, with her superior attitude and a tendency to get into trouble. And certainly the last man Minerva wants is Blake, a careless wastrel without a thought in his handsome head.

The heat and noise of her debutante ball give Minerva a migraine. Surely a moment's rest could do no harm ... until Blake mistakes her for another lady, leaving Minerva's guests to catch them in a very compromising position. To her horror, the scandal will force them to do the unthinkable: marry. Their mutual loathing blazes into unexpected passion but Blake remains distant, desperate to hide a shameful secret. Minerva's never been a woman to take things lying down, and she'll let nothing stop her from winning his trust ... and his heart.


Miranda Neville has become one of my favorite historical romance authors with her sexy and unique Burgundy Club series.  I have thoroughly enjoyed her fun twists on romance cliches and how she makes classic plots her own.  That being said, I was a little hesitant about Confessions From An Arranged Marriage.  The hero, Lord Blakeney, has not been shown in the best light throughout the series especially in his treatment of his cousin in The Dangerous Viscount.  In my opinion, it takes a skilled writer to make a reader care about a former villainous character and Neville has shown her talent by accomplishing this with Blakeney.

The story begins at a ball where Lord Blakeney, who has recently returned from a country exile, gets caught in a scandalous situation with Minerva Montrose and offers marriage to save her, and his, reputation.  These are two people who could not be more different and are forced into a difficult situation.  The rest of the book shows how Blake and Minerva learn to make the best of their marriage and discover surprising things about their new spouse. 

In the earlier Burgundy Club books, Lord Blakeney was shown to be an arrogant rake who seemed to care only about his own fortunes regardless of the percussions for other people.  But, in Confessions, readers learn about a deep dark secret that Blakeney (Blake) has kept hidden from his family and society for years which helps explain his early actions.  I enjoyed Neville's depiction of Blake and how she revealed the lengths he went to in order to hide the truth.  His fear of disappointing his family, his friends, and eventually Minerva weigh heavily on his mind.   

Minerva is a young heroine with high political aspirations.  Before her marriage to Lord Blakeney, she desired a marriage with a up and coming politician that she could help raise in the upper echelons of that world.  Her intelligence and ambition are admirable and make her stand out from the other historical ladies.  At times, I found it difficult to warm up to Minerva, but I think much of that is due to her youth and reluctance to accept Blakeney for who he truly is until later in the story. 

As I mentioned earlier, Blake and Minerva are in a difficult position with the scandalous start to their marriage, but they both make an effort to make the most of it.  They are opposites, but strive to find things in common to discuss.  A big part of the love story is understanding each other and through that knowledge finding someone they can't imagine living without.
There was a lot of political talk throughout this book and it was fairly interesting.  Neville definitely did her research on the issues that were important at the time.  I did find it getting a little long-winded and sympathized with Blakeney when he expressed his waning interest to Minerva and his family. 

Miranda Neville continues to take common romance tropes and giving them a fresh twist.  She is not afraid to give her characters flaws which makes them relatable to the reader.  Confessions From An Arranged Marriage is not your typical historical romance and I highly recommend it to those who are looking for something a little different.  I look forward to reading more of her work soon!

Rating: 4 Stars

The Burgundy Club
1. The Wild Marquis
2. The Dangerous Viscount
3. The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton
4. Confessions From An Arranged Marriage

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