A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford

August 4, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Radical Arrangement by Jane AshfordA Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 4, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
one-star
Sir Justin Keighley was everything that repelled Margaret Mayfield in a man. He was shocking in his opinions, arrogant in his manner, rude in his actions, and completely without respect for the common decencies of civilized society.
Margaret was everything that Sir Justin detested in a woman. She was shy, retiring, obedient to her parents, almost embarrassed by her own beauty, and ignorant of virtually every phase of real life in the real world.
Needless to say, they both did everything in their power to escape being matched with each other. Somehow everything was not enough...

Margaret Mayfield was raised to be the perfect daughter of her important and conservative Parliamentary politician father – quiet, obedient, and completely without an independent thought in her head.  Sir Justin Keighley is the antithesis of Margaret’s father – a free-thinking radical who isn’t afraid to debate his ideas to anyone who will listen  Yet somehow Keighley is always invited to the Mayfield’s dinner parties and it is after one such dinner party that Margaret and Justin suddenly find themselves in a compromising position!

Margaret falls into the category of heroines that is a cross between a Mary Sue and “too stupid to live.”  She’s wildly emotional when it serves the plot’s purpose, has no backbone to speak of (again, unless it serves the plot’s purpose), and makes some decisions in this book that make the reader question Margaret’s intelligence.  She magically transforms into a decent heroine towards the end, but given Margaret’s backstory, even this transformation was wholly outside the realm of reason and believability.  I expect heroes and heroines to grow and change throughout the novel, but Margaret does a complete 180 that seems to come from nowhere and does not gel with her character arc.

Justin is a little better when it comes to character consistency, though even his actions sometimes seem a bit out of character.  The inciting incident, for example: Margaret runs away from her parents and Justin chases after her.  This event follows several pages of Justin’s words and thoughts of belittlement and condescension towards Margaret and her family.  Which brings me to point #2: Justin is an arrogant jerk.  He believes himself to always be right, he finds Margaret empty-headed and her family pompous, and there are a myriad of little points and actions throughout the narrative that point to his belief that he is superior to those around him (which is in direct conflict with his views on the poor).  *This* is supposed to be the hero!?  No thank you.

Margaret and Justin’s love is the “instant” variety.  Around the 61% mark, Justin suddenly realizes that he might just possibly love Margaret despite his callousness towards her in the prior 60%.  Margaret also suffers from the same sudden amnesia as Justin because she apparently returns his feelings too.  Thankfully readers are not subjected to any kind of awkward “love scene” which keeps the entire book quite mild.

This is a re-print of a novel originally published in 1983.  Which also explains a lot about the writing.  I found the characters painfully one-dimensional whose actions in the scene only seemed to serve the plot-of-the-moment. The plot was completely unrealistic and the writing sub-par.  There was absolutely no emotional connection whatsoever and everything was simply “told” to the reader.

Save your money and skip this one.

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