Sunday, January 13, 2019

Review - A Daring Arrangement

Author:  Joanna Shupe
Series:  The Four Hundred #1
Genre:   Historical Romance
Publisher:   Avon
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:  384
Date of Publication:  October 31, 2017
My Rating:  5 Stars

Set in New York City’s Gilded Age, Joanna Shupe’s Avon debut introduces an English beauty with a wicked scheme to win the man she loves—and the American scoundrel who ruins her best laid plans…

Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she desires. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course….

Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancĂ©, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.


Lady Honoria (Nora) Parker has what she feels is a fail safe plan, to find the most unsuitable man possible to pretend to be engaged to. Why must she do this? Well, in order to avoid scandal that has already plagued Nora's family, her father has sent her to New York to find a good man to marry. Nora is in love with an artist named Robert. As the daughter of an Earl, this is highly unacceptable Furthermore, the cause for scandal is that Nora was found in a compromising position with Robert. However, she has come up wit her own ideas. To her benefit, Julius Hatcher happily agrees to pose as the gorgeous stranger's fiancĂ©. However, the next day Julius has no idea what in the world she could be talking about. He was celebrating his birthday the previous night and was far too drunk to be able to remember.

Nora convinces Julius that her plan is sound. After all, she quickly discovers that she is not the only one with something to be gained from the experience. Julius is of the elite in New York, but he is self-made and despite his massive riches, is still quite looked down on by polite society. Pretending to be engaged to Nora can definitely open doors for him. Also, Julius would like to lay to ruin those he feels responsible for his father's death. Julius is a mathematical genius as well as a financial wizard. He owes everything he has to his father, and this opportunity is just too good to pass up.

Plans go awry for more than one reason. Primarily, Julius is basically a good man. He isn't quite the rake Nora actually hopes he is, so how is her father going to believe her true love is better for her? Julius's kindness and charm excel rather quickly, but especially towards Nora. How in the world is any sort of scandal going to reach Nora's father in England if Julius is the perfect gentleman, and quite possibly, perfect husband material?

I thoroughly enjoyed A Daring Engagement. It is a funny and sexy story with a bit of mystery, which is delivered on at least two points. I absolutely loved Nora's free spirit and her decisions were well-thought out. Julius was a joy too. He was handsome, kind and wicked smart. Therefore, I found both the story and the characters to be engaging. Also, since I read the third book in the series first, I felt I knew a bit about the setting in which this story takes place. This entertaining read was devoured in one sitting and I immediately read the next book in the series.

There are three books in The Four Hundred series, and the following two are A Scandalous Affair and A Notorious Vow, those review links are here for your perusal.


Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. In 2013 she won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical.

Joanna’s first Gilded Age historical novel, Magnate, was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Publishers Weekly, and one of 2016′s top romances by The Washington Post and Kobo. The Washington Post named Joanna’s The Lady Hellion as one of 2015’s top five romance novels.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.

When she’s not writing or doing laundry, she can be found online at Facebook (Joanna Shupe Author) or Twitter (@joannashupe).

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