A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford with Excerpt and Giveaway

A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my review for the re-release of A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford from Sourcebooks Casablanca.  Please read on for my review, be sure to read the excerpt and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win a set of Jane Ashford titles.

A Radical Arrangement

I remember seeing this title years ago, before I started obsessing over historic romance, and passing it by as a ‘not my thing’ title.  Now some 30 years after originally published, the story has a quaint retro feel, laden with dramatic moments while adhering more closely to the societal expectations of the time.

But, this was a fun and light read nonetheless. A bit dated, this story has Margaret: a little sheltered, a lot naïve and quite prone to missish-ness and the very patient Justin.  Margaret took a bit to appreciate, she’s more afraid of her own shadow and imaginings than one should believe possible, and it takes her a while to grow up and get some sense. But, I had to repeatedly remind myself that she was an example of the women of her day: of whom little is expected, little is offered.  And while she was given opportunities fitting with her position, she was little more than a woman to be married off advantageously for both husband and family.

Sir Justin was a bit more enjoyable, and his eye-roll worthy responses to Margaret and her father’s dramatics. With a reputation as a rake, but very little evidence to that effect, Justin is honorable, honest and quite enjoyable. He wants the best foil for the dramatics, miscommunications, a runaway fiancé and a wonderful character in the form of midwife Mrs. Dowling.

A fun jaunt that will entertain and amuse, and a great chance to see the similarities and differences in romance then and now.

A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: A Radical Arrangement
Author: Jane Ashford
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 9780451125156
Published on: 4 August 2015
Format:eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 288
Audio Length: 6 Hours: 56 minutes
Rated: three-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon AllRomance iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

After years of being out of print, Jane Ashford's beloved title, A Radical Arrangement, is finally back!

Sir Justin Keighley is all wrong for a proper young lady like Margaret Mayfield. Everyone knows he is shocking in his opinions, arrogant in his manner, and completely without respect for the common decencies of civilized society. Margaret absolutely will not marry him—no matter what her parents say.

Margaret was everything Sir Justin detested in a woman—timid, sheltered, and obedient to a fault. It’s not until she runs away from him that he finds he must give chase. Margaret is discovering she can be bold and rebellious—intrepid enough to do what she must, and more exciting than Justin ever imagined possible.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Read an Excerpt 

 

Sir Justin Keighley stood in the doorway, looking them over with a slight, satirical curve of his lips. He wore, like the other gentlemen, conventional evening dress, but this superficial similarity was their only common ground. Ralph Mayfìeld, Philip Manningham, the squire, and John Twitchel were none of them unattractive men or negligible personalities. Each, in his own sphere, had a certain dignity and authority, and all had the confidence that respect engendered. Yet somehow, the moment he entered the room and before he spoke a word, Justin Keighley eclipsed them. It was not charm. Indeed, the newcomer did not look at all pleasant or ingratiating. And it was not mere social position. Keighley held an ancient baronetcy and a substantial fortune, but any of twenty men his hosts were accustomed to meeting ranked above him. Ralph Mayfield could not have said why he felt subdued as he came forward to greet his final guest.

The squire’s wife might have enlightened him. As she had told a friend at a Bath assembly two years ago, “Justin Keighley is a vastly attractive man, my dear. And not just to women. All the young men ape him, my son among them. I don’t know just how it is, but he has a great influence without appearing to seek it in the least. Indeed, sometimes I think he dislikes the idea. But it goes on. It’s something in his manner. No doubt you’ve noticed it yourself. He makes you look at him.” Mrs. Camden had been embarrassed by this speech, but it was quite true. And Keighley’s attraction was the more mysterious because he was not conventionally handsome. Though tall and well made, with broad shoulders and a good leg, his features were rough—a jutting nose and heavy black brows that nearly obscured expressive hazel eyes. And he took no care with his dress, a rarity in an elegant age. His coats were made so that he could shrug himself into them without help; his collars did not even approach his jaw; and he had once been observed in White’s with a distinct thumb mark on his Hessian boots, giving one of the dandy set what he described as “a shuddering palpitation.”

But these sartorial eccentricities were outweighed by Sir Justin’s political influence and sagacity. He was an intimate of the Prince Regent and Lord Holland, and important in the Whig Party. These facts did not explain his fascination for a great number of people, chiefly women, who hadn’t the slightest interest in politics, but they amply justified the Mayfìelds’ attention and suppressed antipathy.

“Good evening,” Keighley said to Mr. Mayfield in a deep, resonant voice. “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”

“Not at all, not at all. Come in. You know everyone, I think.”

Sir Justin bowed his head with a sardonic smile. He always met precisely the same people at his yearly dinner with the Mayfields, presumably those they were certain he could not “corrupt” with his aberrant opinions, and he always felt the same infuriated boredom. For the fiftieth time he wondered why he came. There was no hope of amusement or chance of advantage here. The Mayfields and their friends were just the sort of smug, resolutely conventional people he despised. They held to the views their fathers had bequeathed them and attacked all others. If one tried to make them change even a fraction, they shook their heads and muttered of treason.

He looked around the room. The only addition this year was the Mayfìelds’ daughter. He had forgotten her name, but he remembered that she had come out last season. She looked as one would have expected: a pallid, simpering creature. Keighley shrugged. Politics forced him to endure fools occasionally. The Prince would want to know the climate of opinion here in Devon. He supposed he could get through this evening as he had previous ones, through a combination of stoicism and bitter inner laughter.

Margaret watched him with awed apprehension as he settled beside Mrs. Camden and began to chat with her about London. She had never actually spoken to Sir Justin; her mother had seen to that. But she had heard him talked of so many times that she felt she knew what he would say in response to a wide variety of remarks. It would always be shocking. She gazed at him in an effort to understand how any man could be so utterly depraved in thought and action, almost expecting his rugged face to contort in a grimace of malevolence and his chiseled lips to emit some horrifying revelation.

Suddenly Sir Justin looked up and met her eyes from across the room. He seemed at first startled to find her staring, then his mocking smile appeared again, and he raised one black brow, holding her gaze. Embarrassed, Margaret tried to look away, but something in his hazel eyes prevented it. A spark glinted there, and she felt a kind of tremor along her nerves. It was utterly unfamiliar and unsettling, like a violent thrill of feeling. How could a stranger affect her so? This must be fear, she thought; I am afraid of him. She began to tremble, but still she could not turn her head away. He seemed to understand her reaction and, amused, to prolong the contact on purpose.

Finally Keighley laughed and bent to answer some question of Mrs. Camden’s. Margaret jerked back in her chair and clasped her shaking hands so tightly that the knuckles whitened. He was a dreadful man. She would not speak to him, and if she ever saw him again, she would run away.

About Jane Ashford

Nancy Jane LeCompte was born in Eaton, Ohio, USA. She discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has lived in New York, Boston and LA, her writing life punctuated by breaks where the fates intervened and swept her off in different directions. Today, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jane has written historical and contemporary romances as Jane Ashford and Jane LeCompte. Her books have been published in England, Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and Latvia, as well as the U.S. She is a two-time nominee for a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times Magazine. Away from romance writing for several years, she recently completed a new historical.