An Improper Arrangement by Kasey Michaels [review]

Synopsis

Experience the drama of the Little Season in the first of a new series by USA Today bestselling author Kasey Michaels, in which three dashing war heroes have finally met their matches…

Gabriel Sinclair has returned from battle as reluctant heir to a dukedom. As if his new responsibilities weren’t enough, Gabriel’s aunt enlists him to sponsor a young heiress through London’s Little Season. Yet Miss Thea Neville is hardly the tedious obligation he expected. She’s exotic and enchanting—and utterly unaware of the secret poised to destroy her family’s reputation.

After ten years in America, Thea is ready to do her duty and marry well. Deportment lessons, modistes, balls—the ton is a minefield she could scarcely navigate without Gabriel’s help. By rights, she should accept the first bachelor who offers for her. Instead, she’s succumbing to a dangerous attraction to her wickedly handsome chaperone—one that could unhinge her plans in the most delicious way.

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

Skilled at making outrageous characters and situations believable, Kasey Michaels has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I highly enjoyed reading AN IMPROPER ARRANGEMENT.

The story starts with Gabriel and his friends on the battlefield. Michaels never says what year this takes place nor the name of the war. So, the reader must know a bit of history to put this scene into context.

I thought it was interesting to start the story with the male lead; many of the books I read start with the female, and it was a nice change. I also appreciated that this bit of backstory doesn’t drag. Within a couple of chapters, Gabriel meets Thea when she arrives with his aunt, the duchess.

The duchess presents her as a gift to Gabe, which causes some surprise and confusion on his part until his aunt explains her plot for revenge against a young man who abandoned Gabe and his friends during the war and the man’s father who happens to also be Thea’s father.

Thea and Gabe have a common goal, although they don’t know that the other knows about it. Gabe believes he is acting as Thea’s chaparone to the Little Season so he can use her to expose her father for the fraud he is, getting his revenge for what happened during the war. He feels horribly guilty about using Thea, but he doesn’t see a way around it. Thea doesn’t know what Gabe knows; she believes she is using him as a way to confront her father and get the title that is rightfully hers.

Meanwhile, he and Thea get to know one another, which only increases his guilt. He also has to deal with his uncle, the duke, who believes he will die before his sixtieth birthday, and Gabe has to figure out what to do with a huge aviary of birds that have taken over the main hall of the duke’s mansion due to his aunt and uncle’s compulsion to collect birds each time they travel somewhere.

There is a lot going on in this story, but it never gets confusing. Michaels adds a large cast of entertaining characters, some of whom are quite quirky. Clarice, Thea’s American maid, who has to pretend to be a socialite, is a riot. So is the duchess who has a hard time getting to the point in discussions and is overly frank when speaking of sexual matters.

The romance progressed naturally over time. Gabe had to adjust to dealing with an intelligent, opinionated, and vocal woman who could best him at almost everything. The development of the relationship took time, but it was worth it. Theirs was a sweet happily-ever-after.

If you like a book that successfully mixes silliness with a heartwarming romance, you should definitely read AN IMPROPER ARRANGEMENT. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for great characterization, natural romantic development, and precision of plot. Everything fit together perfectly. I truly loved this book!

Warning: This book is intended for adult audiences, as it contains sexually explicit scenes.

 

Kasey Michaels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 books (she doesn’t count them). Kasey has received three coveted Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly, two for the historical romances, THE SECRETS OF THE HEART and THE BUTLER DID IT, and a third for contemporary romance LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY (that shows diversity, you see). She is a recipient of the RITA, a Waldenbooks and Bookrak Bestseller award, and many awards from Romantic Times magazine, including a Career Achievement award for her Regency era historical romances. She is an Honor Roll author in Romance Writers of America, Inc. (RWA)

Kasey has appeared on the TODAY show, and was the subject of a Lifetime Cable TV show “A Better Way,” in conjunction with Good Housekeeping magazine, a program devoted to women and how they have achieved career success in the midst of motherhood (short version: “with great difficulty”).

A highly praised nonfiction book, written as Kathryn Seidick, “…OR YOU CAN LET HIM GO,” details the story of Kasey and her family during the time of her eldest son’s first kidney transplant.

Kasey has written Regency romances, Regency historicals, category books including novellas and continuities and a few series “launch” books, and single title contemporaries. She has coped with time travel, ghosts, trilogies, the dark side, the very light side, and just about everything in between. Hers is also the twisted mind behind her ongoing Maggie Kelly mystery series starring a former romance writer turned historical mystery writer whose gorgeous hunk of a fictional hero shows up, live and in color, in her Manhattan living room – to melt her knees, to help her solve murders, and to leave the top off her toothpaste. And, says Kasey, she’s just getting started!
(bio from Goodreads)

 

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