4.5 stars. I really loved the characters in this book, they just touched my heart. I so wanted them to be happy, and continued to think about them even after I finished reading the book. I'll be keeping it as a comfort read.
I have yet to read a Mary Balogh book that was bad, but this one is top notch. It's the second book in her "Survivor's Club" series, about a group of people (6 men and a woman) who suffered and were injured, in one way or another, during the wars, and band together for friendship and assistance. The first book, "The Proposal" was good, but "The Arrangement" is better and more original.
I'm not spoiling anything because the synopsis already reveals that Vincent, the hero, was blinded in battle. Sophia, the heroine, has lost her parents and she is penniless, and not particularly attractive, so she is ignored or treated like a nonentity by the relatives who have taken her in. In steps the hero, who gets to be the rescuer in a Cinderella type story; and I love Cinderella stories! Then in another sense, she is able to rescue him from his family, who are loving and well meaning but over protective.
What I also love about the book is that the two of them are honest and straightforward with each other, no miscommunications, and even before they fall in love, they like and respect each other. It takes a while before the heroine is able to gain back some self esteem and think of herself as a worthwhile and deserving person. The hero is very sensitive and understanding; what a refreshing change after reading so many stories about rakes! For her part, the heroine is sweet and loyal and determined to help Vincent gain back his independence in spite of his loss of sight. Although, I must say, since he has had years to adjust, he has more or less accepted and learned to live with his handicap, with the help his loyal friend and valet, and the other members of the Survivor's Club. I enjoyed seeing them as secondary characters and I think some of them will be challenging to find an HEA for, but I am counting on Mary Balogh to do it!
I like this author (have read all her books), & I love the premise of the Survivor's Club (loved book #1), but this one was just bleh for me. I understand that the heroine was desperate, & the hero was honorable, but there was no chemistry between them, just an 'understanding'. Bleh.
Another sweet, and tame, romance that borders on the dull. If you are looking for a passionate love story, this is not it. The character development, on the other hand, was well done and I especially liked Sophie's talent for quirky caricatures. Vincent and Sophie got on really well together but their romance didn't do anything for me. Yes, Vincent came to her rescue, twice, and that was sweet. But their romance was lackluster, somewhat like snuggling with a familiar blanket. 3 stars.
I've never read Balogh before but I really enjoyed this one. It's a very simple story of two people coming together and finding their way to make each other better. There are no steamy love scenes and explosions for the most part but decidedly sweet.
I really liked the whole book! The story was great right from the start, each had their own issues to deal with but that didn't stop them from doing things and growing. There was lots of laughter and common bonding between the main characters and they both cared for each other and actually spoke to each other which was so refreshing. Great story how friends support each other and are there for each other.