Back Cover Blurb
The lady and the commoner...
Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage. But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant. Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon. For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility. He was unaffected by their difference in social status. And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal. Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions.
David de Abyndon understood Christiana's dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain. How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye? How could he tell her about his deal with the king-a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen?
What's more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body-but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?
Wow. This book completely blew me away. I've read one other Madeline Hunter book and that was By Possession which I enjoyed but never really connected with the characters. I went into By Arrangements with similar expectations and was pleasantly surprised.
First off the characters. Christiana and David are definitely up there in my top 10 couples. At first I was worried that Christiana was going to ruin the book for me since she was so incredibly naive and girlish at the beginning but part of what makes this book so great is the character growth you see from Christiana by the end of the book she has turned into a woman who is totally deserving of David. As for David, I think he will be a hard hero for some people to love. He has a definite dark streak and can be ruthless at times but with the exception of one incident he is gentle and kind with Christiana and it really shows what a good person he truly is on the inside. I love complex heros and angsty books so David worked for me on so many levels.
This was also one of those "butterflies in the stomach" love stories. Watching these two fall in love with one another against their own will was romantic and the love scenes were well written and passionate although they could be a little "purple" at times.
The other thing I should point out that may turn some people off is that this book does have a "Big Misunderstanding" in it. This isn't a plot device that bothers me though because I find the scenes where the characters get back together some of the most emotional. This book is no exception the last scenes in this book had tears welling up in my eyes.
All in all this book is definitely a keeper for me and for anyone out there looking for a solid Medieval Romance I would highly suggest you pick this one up.