The Andreou Marriage Arrangement
Taking a break between the paranormal, my next review is on author Helen Bianchin’s The Andreou Marriage Arrangement.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of sweet category romance with little to no mention of sex, and babies—lots of babies!
I have gone back to the land of alpha males and wealthy fantasies though with Harlequin’s Presents line, and The Andreou Marriage Arrangement was…an interesting read.
The hero, Loukas Andreou is one of the docile alpha heroes I rarely get to read… Usually this line boosts guys who are really in-your-face and heroines who are sassy and push those refined buttons so well they make the hero lose his collected control—yeah. But with Loukas and heroine Alesha Karsouli, there was never really an argument. Not one.
Not even in the black moment, nearer the end of the book where something climactic does happen but it is not preceded by an argument and it doesn’t lead to one either. It was strange.
Also the book was almost entirely from Alesha’s perspective. Loukas had few chances to get his thoughts in and when he did, it was a brief camera switch—like the author hopped into Loukas’ mind—while he was in a room talking with Alesha and then would turn the camera over onto Alesha again.
Typically I get 40/60 with these lines…or at the very least 30/70. And personally, I didn’t like that Alesha was basically the sole narrator. I get that romances are being digested by a greater female audience, but I actually prefer reading the hero’s POV. As a writer it’s also a great way for me to jump into the male’s head for a bit.
So I didn’t like the POV, I also didn’t like the chattiness of this novel.
But to be fair Alesha is presented as a prim heroine who could be the poster child for a manners school. And she thinks and talks using “big” words. Like her vocabulary forced me to look up some of the words she was using.
Still I felt there was a lot of overwrought description. Alesha showered a lot of times in this book, and I’m not sure why I needed to know that. It had nothing to do with her character. She also ate breakfast a lot and changed her clothes a lot…
At first I tried to dismiss this because of her past history with a first marriage that broke down and her experience with her less-than-savory first husband, but I can’t excuse it. So I’ll repeat myself, this book has an extremely annoying/distracting amount of purple prose. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example I’m still laughing at (nearer to the end of the book):
For a miniscule second she caught an overview of the medical set-up, but it was the man himself who garnered her total attention […] – p.163
A minuscule second?
Why is the adjective needed?
Can a second be any smaller? Yes, but…why not just use the term than. “For a nanosecond…” Or even “For a split second…” Though personally I would have just scratched it out and used “For a second she blahblahblah”.
Overall I liked Loukas’ character. It was refreshing to read about an alpha who didn’t toe the line—or the heroine’s personal space—every time he didn’t get his way. He was assertive and confident, but he was also loving and generally doting… as well as sexy during the fun times between (and around) the sheets.
I liked Alesha, too. And considering I was in her head most of the time, it was great that I could at least stand her. She has problems with trust, especially with man (and the novel explains why), so it was interesting to watch Loukas’ and her paper marriage develop into something more natural.
Considering that the book seemed to cover a few months, it moved at a relatively fast pace. By the end the HEA was well deserved.
If you’re in the market of easing into the alpha world of Harlequin Presents, I’d suggest The Andreou Marriage Arrangement as a starter…sorta like training wheels for the other alphas heroes that might rub you raw with their high-handed tricks and mercurial attitudes.