Friday, September 26, 2008
The Arrangement by Betsy Page
The Arrangement does have the rags to riches element that is prevalent with the heroines of Harlequin Presents, but this heroine is very accomplished in her own way before she meets the hero. Kate Elliot is a widow who runs her deceased husband's garage, and can fix just about any car. She has kept the roof over her mother and young siblings' heads for seven years since her husband dies. But things come to a head when Tyler Langston comes to town. Tyler's father Uriah has given him the ultimatum that he marry Kate, who Uriah met and became impressed with on a trip to the small town in Maine where Kate lives. Tyler has worked hard to run his family's company. Too hard to see his shiftless brother and sister squander it away, should they obtain controlling shares from his father if he does not marry Kate. Tyler goes to check out Kate and finds himself unwittingly attracted to her. But Tyler is a cool character, and manages to hide the depth of his feelings for her. Kate is happy to avoid Tyler, but pressure from an unwanted suitor to whom her mother owes a lot of money fairly drives her into Tyler's arms. When he asks her to marry him, she knows that she doesn't really have the choice not to. Love sneaks up on the married couple, and Tyler is not keen on falling. Kate deals with issues of going from a small town girl barely scraping by to being a rich man's wife, as well as her feelings for a husband she doesn't believe returns her feelings. This is a quick read, but a good read. The characters are vividly drawn. Tyler is a control freak, and it comes across. Kate is a practical woman who finds that she is not immune to love for her aristocratic, hard-edged husband. If you would like to read a Harlequin Presents that has a slice of small-town American life, with a heroine who is more at home in overalls with a wrench than designer fashions, I think you will enjoy this book as I did.