Monday, June 2, 2008

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, and freedom – by all accounts, a perfect marriage. The reason? For the last ten years, husband and wife have resided on separate continents.

But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines … when Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding – and now Gigi wants to be free to marry again. When Camden returns from America with an outrageous demand in exchange for her freedom, Gigi’s decision will have consequences she never imagined, as secrets are exposed, desire is rekindled – and one of London’s most admired couples must either fall in love all over again … or let each other go forever.


The writing style…

Kat: I liked Sherry Thomas's writing and I think that the book was very good for a debut (I hope I'm not mistaken here). I really came to care for her characters.

Mel: I, too, liked her writing style. I was surprised how well it was written for a debut author.

Jace: Yes, her writing style was engaging and very readable. I noticed that she used a lot of similes – spread like well-fed gut; the air around her turned thick as pea soup; her fingers glided across the piano keys like swallows over a summer pond; crystalline, sumptuous notes caressed the ears the way a good dish of crème brûlée caressed the tongue; she dropped the shears, like a contrite killer flinging away her murder weapon; etc. – which I thought was a tad overdone.

The plot and characters…

Kat: Gigi and Camden was a very good match. I loved to see how they changed over the ten years, what they had learned and where they still have to learn. The relationship between these two was very believable. I felt so much for them both, when they saw each other in Copenhagen, but couldn't get together. There was so much desperation in this scene that I could have cried over their stupidity.

Mel: I didn't like Gigi at first. I thought she was heartless and cruel, until I saw how events in her life made her who she was. I couldn't imagine living, knowing the only reason people liked me or men wanted me was for my money ... that would make anyone hard and jaded, I think. They were both very bullheaded and stupid in their dealings with each other. Cam was cruel to her too. The flashback scenes in Paris when he turned her away were heartbreaking.

Jace: I couldn't stand Gigi when she was 18 years old. I thought that she was too hard and too ruthless for someone so young, her wealth notwithstanding. Now, if she had to survive a tough childhood, I would understand her mindset. But she had such a privileged life and I thought her ruthlessness unbelievable. I also thought Camden at 21 was unbelievable. I couldn't quite believe that he could be so cold and calculated as to bed Gigi then left her behind the morning after.

10 years later – and I have a HUGE problem believing that these two could have stayed apart for 10 years, considering how much they loved and desired each other – Camden decided to want to make her pregnant ... after ignoring and neglecting her all those years!!! Ok, her wanting the divorce pushed him into this, but I still couldn’t get past the 10 years.

Kat: The book also made me very sad, because I didn't like the plot itself. I don't like to read about endless misunderstandings, about people who aren't willing to forgive or to even understand, why others make mistakes. I don't like to read about people who turn cruel to each other to make everyone suffer for things that happened years ago. These people are living permanently in the past, they can't really go on with their lives, and they waste most of their lives in anger, grief and selfishness, not seeing that they only hurt themselves the most.

I, however, liked the love story between Victoria and the Duke of Perrin. That was so sweet!

Jace: I just couldn't stand all those stupid misunderstandings over and over again, which could have been so easily avoided had they just talked openly. That Gigi thought she should stick with Freddie after straightening things out with Camden just about made me want to smack her. She pined for Camden for 10 years, and now that things were finally good between them, she thought she should honour her promises to Freddie! The misunderstandings and missed opportunities really made this story unbearable at times.

Victoria and the Duke were cute and humorous. I liked their story more than Gigi and Camden’s.

Mel: I agree about the side story between Victoria and the Duke ... very sweet.

It's strange … this book had all the elements I usually hate in a story - cheating, cruelty, misunderstandings, etc. – yet I could hardly put the book down. I don't feel that this was the masterpiece all the online reviews have made it out to be, but it was good.

Kat: M, I completely agree with you that this book was certainly not the masterpiece of the season. I really don't understand the hype. Sometimes I think the reviewers must have read another version of the story.

The conclusion and rating…

Kat: I think that life is too short and precious for such behaviour and there will never be peace, if there still are people who don't even try to live in peace with themselves and the ones they love, just because someone stepped on their ego ... I can't stand people like this in real life, so I have difficulty with them in books. I rate the book 3.5/Warm because of my personal dislikes. However, if I could think more objectively, it would deserve a 4.

Mel: I couldn't agree more, K. Life is too short to waste it on fighting and heartache. I rate it 4/Warm.

Jace: I rate this 3.5/Warm. When I don’t care about the lead characters, no matter how great the writing is, the story's not going to be a memorable or enjoyable one.

My rating3.5
Sensuality ratingWarm


Jill D. said...

I have this one in my TBR pile. I will wait to read your review until I have read it. Shouldn't be too much longer :)

Jace said...

I'll be looking out for your review, Jill. :)

Mary M. said...

I was at the bookstore the other day trying to find books to buy and since I'd heard a lto about this one and what a great debut it was I sat the read the first chapters. I decided to put it back as soon as I realized it would be one of those misunderstandings stories. The only author who can get away with the misunderstandings plot device is Judith mcNaugt and even with her it irritates the shit out of me at times. Thanks for your rveiew Jace. I might grab this book at the used book store someday, but I will certainly not pay ful price for it.

Jace said...

Mary, you another McNaught fan? *grin* She was one of the first authors I read when I got hooked on romance novels. I've read all her historicals and most of her contemporaries. You're right about her misunderstanding plots. LOL The 1st one that pops into my mind is Whitney My Love. Can't say it's one of my faves. But her heroes grovel so darn well, so I forgive her recycling of this familiar plot element. *grin*

As for Private Arrangements, the writing's good. The lead characters and the things they do aren't. For me to enjoy a story, I need to like the lead characters first and foremost, otherwise it's going to be a struggle. This book was a struggle.