Confessions from an Arranged Marriage
by Miranda Neville
Confessions from an Arranged Marriage brings back characters I loved from Miranda Neville's last three books, and one character I didn't particularly like. Since she has made Blakeney the hero of this book and he was such an ass in the second book, Miss Neville needed to really redeem him and make me believe it…and she did.
Oh, at the beginning of Confessions from an Arranged Marriage Blakeney was still an ass and rather childish, and I could have hoped and wished that the deep, dark secret that made him the ass he was was something other than the deep, dark secret du jour: dyslexia. Every time I turn around another powerful man has suffered with dyslexia in Regency England, and in some cases he is a better person for it, while in others he is just an ass because of it. Such as in the case with Blakeney. That being said, all in all Ms. Neville turned Blakeney into a character I liked and was rooting for by the end of the book.
As the heir to the politically powerful Duke of Hampton, the last thing Blake wants is a wife who eats, breathes, and sleeps politics. Which naturally is just what he gets when he is caught with his head under Minerva Montrose's skirts—at a ball in her honor held in his parents' house.
Minerva has always suffered from migraines and when she feels one coming on during the ball, she takes her headache powder and hides in the library to rest. Unfortunately she takes too much powder and passes out. A very drunk Blake arrives late to the ball, overhears his friend make an assignation in the library with his latest amour, and decides to one up his friend. Because he is so drunk, Blake mistakes the lady on the sofa and is married soon after.
At first Blake decides to be childish and rebel against his father by not consummating his marriage, thereby denying his father the ducal succession he so desperately wants. The reader understands Blake's reasons for behaving as he does and does have some sympathy for him, but mostly, you just want to shake him. As he and Minerva spend more time together during their honeymoon in Paris, he becomes a caring husband and a better man for being around her.
I really enjoyed how well Blake was redeemed from the selfish character he was when readers first met him. Minerva is still the reformist that readers had also previously met and she still wants to make changes by marrying a politically like-minded man and helping him in his career. What she gets instead is Blakeney, whom she has known forever and never particularly cared for. She doesn't want to marry him but she knows that ruination is not an option for her, otherwise she wouldn't be able to see any changes made in Parliament. What Minerva doesn't expect is that Blake will be able to fulfill all of her dreams.
With Blakeney as the hero I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Confessions from an Arranged Marriage. I will admit that my eyes did glaze over a bit at all the talk of politics (just like Blake's did), however, Blake's redemption and his journey with Minerva made up for it.
Confessions from an Arranged Marriage is a good addition to my Miranda Neville list of keepers.
Reviewed by: Valarie Pelissero
“Can a reformist find happiness with a rake who only thinks of sport?”
April 2012, 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.