A Practical Arrangement

A Practical Arrangement - Nadja Notariani Evangeline Grey is a woman out-of-step with society. At a time when women are supposed to be quiet, shy and retiring, she is intelligent, educated and doesn't fear showing her intelligence. Unfortunately she lives during a time when a woman of her stature is expected to get married and that is a problem. Evangeline has a problem with intimacy of any kind and has no desire to get married. She has seen the emotional perils of marriage through her parents' marriage. Her sister, Melody - a young widow, insists that marriage and the intimacy found there is nothing to be feared and is highly desirable, but Evangeline finds this hard to believe. Her hopes for living a single life are dashed when her father presents her with an ultimatum, choose a husband by spring or else.

Thomas Masterson is considered a rake by societal standards. He is well known for sowing his oats and he has no shame regarding his activities. He is accepted into the Grey household because he is a man of wealth, status and his aunt and uncle are great friends to the Greys. When he is presented with his own ultimatum, marry or else, he is in a quandary. He doesn't wish to marry any of the tittering young women he's met at balls, etc., and yearns for simple companionship. After speaking with Evangeline Grey during a recent visit to her parents' home, he finds himself attracted to her acerbic wit and intelligence. The more he becomes attracted to her the more he realizes the only way he can get her to marry him is through trickery and the end result is an engagement and marriage.

A Practical Arrangement hints at the practical necessity of marriage that is forced on both Evangeline and Thomas. Their relationship begins on extremely shaky footing and progresses to one of mutual respect and admiration. Thomas may have been considered a rake, but he isn't as bad as some make him out to be. He takes great pains and care with Evangeline and her feelings. I found it difficult to understand Evangeline's feelings and fears about intimacy (including her desire not to be touched even by her family) until the very end. This lack of clarity on this issue made the story seem a bit far-fetched while reading it but eventually made a bit more sense after additional information was provided. A Practical Arrangement is a quick historical romance read that is sure to delight.