Book Review – A Delightful Arrangement

A Delightful Arrangement (The Gentlemen Next Door, #1)A Delightful Arrangement by Cecilia Gray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very cute novella about childhood friends becoming something more, set in Regency England.

It’s nothing we haven’t seen before but I guess what made it fun to read was Phillip, the hero. It certainly can’t be Francesca, who had me rolling my eyeballs with her vehement denials. I get that Regency ladies were expected to be modest and un-scandalous but really, does she need to keep up the act in her internal monologue? No harm in drooling inside, Fran.

I empathised with Francesca’s desire to experience a Season and find love, true love and all that. I just didn’t understand why she was so insistent that Phillip not be a part of that equation. As the duchess rightly says:

“I suppose, my dear, I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t that opportunity to fall in love be with Phillip?”

Aside: This is one of the reasons I enjoyed Loretta Chase’s books so much. Her heroines don’t usually spend pages pretending they don’t react to heroes like the stomach to chilli peppers. Real conflict should be something beyond “But I couldn’t possibly love him…”

Phillip is charming and considerate, a rare combination of traits in heroes of the genre. He makes a few hilarious quips like these:

“Ah yes, the infamous ducal glower. It must be a day that ends in y.”

““She blinked. “You’re actually proposing?”
“Please, Franny.” He reached for her hands, drew them to his lips and kissed them one by one.
“But we’re already engaged,” she protested.
“Yes. My father proposed to your father. It was very romantic, I’m sure. But now I am proposing to you.”

Not that he doesn’t have his own fair share of dancing around the bush, but he handles it better.

There’s no major storyline to speak of since the book is so short. Quite a few scorching moments scattered here and there for the readers’ benefit, though I have to wonder at these incidents happening in broad daylight in the middle of town. Warning: your toes might tingle.

It’s the kind of feel-good story I can see someone reading on their commute after a long day. It won’t take up much time or energy; kind of a glucose dose that gives you just what you need.

*All quotes taken from an ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*


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