11 September 2008

Review: Sherry Thomas - Private Arrangements

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bantam (March 25, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0440244315
ISBN-13: 978-0440244318

Love has designs of its own.…
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.


When a lie turns into betraying all that he holds dear their marriage becomes: a private arrangement. It epitomizes a perfect marriage of London's society but not of the heart as they live on separate continents.

I have been incredibly surprised by the debut novel of Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS. This is not escapism romance written by a talented author, no, this is right in your face romance noir so intense I could only flip the pages in bated breath of what would happen next. Sherry Thomas gives the reader a couple that shows us how wrong everything can go in a relationship and yet the longing for one another remains and is an overwhelming presence in the most hidden corners of their heart.

This is a story that has a past and present storyline and takes a minute to adjust to but in the end enhances the overall understanding of these two strong minded characters superbly. Gigi and Camden are kindred spirits and have a bite to their character. When emotionally hurt they act upon it, not always in a nice way but nevertheless very human and it makes them a very believable couple. I cannot think of one without the other though events will lead up to a perfect acceptable society marriage...one that exists only in name.

Gigi is smart as a whip and has the money to back it up while Camden is a man of blue blood but almost penniless. For them both applies the saying: There is more than meets the eye. When the two of them meet Camden wants to finish his school to get his degree and is elsewhere engaged. However, the mutual intrigue for one another's nature draws them together. It is the intensity of those few courting weeks that holds the seed of their further relationship and every emotion that comes along with it. I was consumed by their feelings, the progress of attraction and rejection as this is intertwined with a passionate desire that simmers under the surface.

PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS contains the classical elements of a London's society structure which is accompanied by its etiquette. With the elegance and prose in Sherry Thomas' writing it only contributed to the feel of the world in the late 19th century. It fills the pages with blooming scenery, colors, sounds and smells that makes the imagery leap of the pages and adds a rich splendor to this tale. Suffice to say that I feverishly turned the pages as I wandered in the world of Sherry Thomas and meeting the characters she created.

Each character became near and dear to my heart, especially the mother of Gigi, Victoria Rowland. She adds a secondary love story that also speaks of second chances, of a love found again, of being bold and a bit wicked to top it off. If there in one thing which an author can please me with is when I am allowed to become a part of the emotional struggles of a couple. I went through the motions with Gigi and Camden, in all their stubbornness I could feel the love and longing radiate from the pages.

I can talk about every aspect in this historical romance novel but it is Gigi and Camden that enthralled me and stole the show, the rest made it possible to enhance that feeling to even greater heights. If I have to say what was bit of a flaw in this novel it is that the conclusion between them as a couple. The resolution of their issues fell a bit short and lost a bit of its impact. The ending itself is wonderful but I would have liked the emotional closure of certain aspects to have been more fleshed out.

Sherry Thomas has made an impressive statement with her debut novel PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS. I would recommend it to all who wants to dig into a historical novel with a bit of a different vibe and intricate, multi-layered emotions. Gigi and Camden's story should sustain your every desire!

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