STRANGE REARRANGEMENTFrom their first disastrous encounter, lovely Claudia Ledyard and the impudently handsome Earl of Dysart openly disliked each other. He, as far as she was concerned, was rude, arrogant, and thoroughly odious. She, as far as he was concerned, was stubborn; hot-tempered and distastefully unladylike. So it was with great dismay that they both found themseSTRANGE REARRANGEMENTFrom their first disastrous encounter, lovely Claudia Ledyard and the impudently handsome Earl of Dysart openly disliked each other. He, as far as she was concerned, was rude, arrogant, and thoroughly odious. She, as far as he was concerned, was stubborn; hot-tempered and distastefully unladylike. So it was with great dismay that they both found themselves forced into the position of finding mates for one another. With even greater dismay they discovered--too late--that this was exactly what neither of them wanted at all!...
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
What a charming book. It's one of those books where you're completely aware of its flaws (and there are some big ones) but it's so likeable you're way more forgiving then you should be!The premise of the book is fantastic and full of narrative possibilities - two characters who meet and start off on the wrong foot eventually are thrown together and told to find partners for each other! The two main characters are delightful. Claudia is an outspoken girl who grew up for a period of time in Virginia in the US and comes back to England at the beginning of the book. Her age is never revealed but by her tone she is definately on the younger side of twenty, maybe 17-19 years old. Taking about a quarter of the book to settle into her character, she is wide-eyed and youthfully rebellious but in a good-natured way. Dysart (Earl of Dysart) is her brother's friend (in a mentor/big brother friendship) and mistook her for a lightskirt on their first meeting where she had travelled to meet her brother who lives in England. Sparks fly and she hates him while he tries to apologise for his terrible behaviour at their meeting - being odious all the while.Herein lies the first problem of the book - pacing. The first quarter of the book is the meeting between the siblings and his friends, sorting out their financial problems and then they all decide Claudia should have a season in London. The second quarter is the Project Claudia section where she is introduced to Lady Tillet (a friend's widowed sister) to make her over and buy her all sorts of gowns, ribbons and fripperies. As well as 'lady training' - dancing practice and correcting her manner suitable for the London social scene as they find her Virginia bred manners to be highly unsuitable for Almacks. It was actually quite a fascinating read as to how girls were schooled in polite bahaviour, conversation skills and countenance"You may laugh a little, but not all the time, and smile some. And don't look around too much."Dysart also has no qualms in pointing out her flaws and shortcomings and she continues to dislike him. Which brings us to half the book. Only half a thin book for the actual courtship dance! Only when she when shes to live with Countess Askridge (her aunt & Dysart's godmother) does she initiate the plan to get them both married. They genuinely try to find partners for each other based on their 'wish list' as they dance around themselves - but it was all a bit proper. I had envisioned after they discovered their own feelings for the other there'd be a hearty dose of good-natured sabotage, jealously, accidently-on-purpose-bumping-into-the-other-couple-on-dates and so forth. To my great disappointment, in the end it is the obligatory heroine rescue sequence, come about by the book's villian (the classical, moustache twirling type villian who has no purpose except to be villianous) that brings the couple ultimately together. The partner-finding situation fizzled as there was no climax, no revelations brought about by that plot point. Dysart was already in love with her long before and Claudia's feelings wasn't written as well as it could have been. She said a lot but felt very little. Readers need to be teased, need to see the progression. A little tingle at a touch here, a little pang of jealousy there goes a long way in building the romance. The ending is extremely rushed and her realisation that she was in love with Dysart, his confession and the happy ending all happens so late and so fast that as I was reading the last pages I was getting stressed noticing how many pages there were left and how much stuff was yet to be said! The book could have done with another 20 pages! In another book this may be resulted in a book flung at a wall but I was still won over by the book. It may be in part as Dysart is irresistible and his character just jumps off the page. He is charming and flirty and I totally fell in love with him. ha!One thing I will add that gave me spasms. Caroline Arnett must be from Virginia and made her character so as she mentions Virginia excessively. It must have been mentioned 30-40 times as I swear I did not go 5 pages without a reference. I would involuntarily twitch at every mention and it annoyed me greatly. Surely an editor would have curbed it!I will end on a note that sometimes you read books where there is a particular sentence that takes your breath away in its beauty, prose or idea. My first and always favourite is in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth feels 'Her heart did whisper, he did it for her'In this book there was a sentence that made my heart skip a beat, do a little dance and fall head over heels in love with Dysart hahahah. He gives Claudia flowers and her reaction...you will have to read and find out! :P