I stumbled upon the Company of Rogues series several years ago and recently decided to read the complete series in order. If you are remotely interested in Regency romance novels, I highly recommend that you do the same. The Rogues and their heroines all felt like friends by the end of the series and I was sorry that I'd finished the last book.
In this book, Eleanor's brother arranges for her to be raped by the Earl of Stainbridge; attempting to trap him and force her into marriage with someone else. The Earl quickly arranges for her to marry his brother, Nicholas. Unfortunately Nicholas is already working for the government in an attempt to uncover a plot to free Napoleon which requires him to conduct an affair with a former lover. From the beginning, the reader can see the potential for a true partnership between Nicholas and Eleanor but his clandestine activities cause him to distance himself from her. He calls the Rogues into duty to squire her around London and distract her.
After reading this, I can't help but wish that Nicholas had been honest with Eleanor from the beginning. Of course, that would have been a completely different story; but it seems like he would have caused her less hurt and she very well could have offered him wisdom on his situation--they're just so well-made for each other that you can only believe they would have handled the whole situation much better if they'd been working together.
Her brother is disgusting. He drugs her and she is ruined. Marriage is arranged to twin brother of her attacker(he was drugged too and blames attack on twin brother). Twin brother is an English spy. Good read. Lots of action.
I was appalled to read that this book started out with rape. Not the best way to start a series of romance novels! The author did salvage the story somewhat, but it still ended up not being as good a novel as it could have been.
I liked the two main characters but wished there was more romance and less confusing drama that took the whole book to resolve. There were too many extra Characters, mainly the bad guys , who were involved in a way too complicated, detailed and far -fetched plot! If only she had constructed a simpler scenario for his secret mission and one that would be more realistic.
It was still a good book but only worth 3 stars instead of four!
I am sorry to say that the company of rogues, a GREAT series, started with this book. Each one gets better than the last. By the end of this LONG and involved series, you will love all of them, I promise. It is IMPERATIVE that you read them in order. You must start with this one in order to understand the rest.
Romantic Times,June 1991
"The name Jo Beverley will be on every fan's lips after reading this splendid love story of a young woman forced to wed a handsome rake.... This immensely appealing pair of lovers will utterly captivate readers, while Ms. Beverley's commanding ease with the regency period provides a veritable feast of delight for the true connoisseur."
From the Author
This edition of An Arranged Marriage is completely unchanged. Though originally published as a regency romance, the plot elements and sensuality meant it was bold for that genre. Therefore, it fits well as a regency historical. In addition to the rave review above, An Arranged Marriage was a finalist for the prestigious RITA award (beaten by my own Emily and the Dark Angel,) and won the National Readers Choice Award and the Romantic Times Award for Best Regency novel. The next two Rogues books will be reissued in 12/00 and 12/01