Quinn's Reviews > Private Arrangements

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
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Sep 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: library-book, regency-victorian-romance, aar-top-100-2010, favourites, i-own
Read from September 27 to 28, 2010

This is not your typical Regency/Victorian romance, and it will not appeal to all readers of this genre.

It is not a heart-warming story of two people falling in love and making a life together, but rather a story of the devastation that can occur when the happily-ever-after is shattered and seems forever out of reach.

Gigi Rowland is young, rich and uncompromising. Her experience with fortune-hunters, coupled with her mother's unswerving determination to see her marry a duke, has left her pragmatic and ruthless - both towards herself and others.

When she fortuitously meets Camden Saybrook, who has recently inherited the lands adjoining her family's holdings, Gigi wastes no time in proposing a union - Camden has need of her finances, Gigi has need of a future Duke for marriage. But Camden is not so easy to convince; he is a man of honor who has different ideals, and desires a marriage that is more that just a convenience.

The attraction between the pair, however, is undeniable. Gigi finds herself unexpectedly emotionally involved and is determined that Camden be hers. They soon find themselves falling in love, and planning their lives together with all the passionate sweetness of first love.

Marry they do, but Gigi has committed an act of extreme deceit and betrayal, to which Camden responds in an equally reprehensible manner. The repercussions leave a trail of devastation and destruction that is still alive 10 years later when they are reunited for the first time upon Gigi's request for a divorce.

The author presents characters that are layered and confronting. She embraces the shades of gray we have within us and presents real characters with undeniable flaws.

There is animosity on a scale such as you would never expect to see in a romance novel. Camden and Gigi are often brutal and callous in their interactions with each other, but the author allows us to also recognize the deep and abiding love they have for each other, could they only find their way back

Never has the line between love and hate been finer. These are characters you condemn even while your heart breaks for them. Heart-wrenching is a term that is often overused - I am guilty of that myself - but if you look it up in the dictionary you might just find a picture of Private Arrangements.

Gigi and Camden are unable or unwilling to recover from the mistakes they made a decade ago, either due to their own self-righteousness, or at times the capricious hands of fate.

The prose is evocative, captivating and unpretentious, as is necessary given the subject matter. The author provides moments of poignancy, particularly toward Camden, to lure the readers sympathy toward these often unlikable characters. Thankfully, she also inserts charming snippets of humor and wit to lighten the sense of bleakness that never manages to overpower the novel.

Private Arrangements is not a pleasant read. It is at times disturbing, but always compelling. There were times I found myself reading this book with my head in my hand, covering one eye as if I couldn’t bear to see what was going to happen.

Unfortunately, I felt a little short-changed by the ending. It felt almost rushed and anti-climactic. Having borne witness to 10 years of angst and anguish, surely we deserved better than a handful of pages worth of resolution. If ever we needed to see a couple living their HEA, Camden and Gigi are that couple.

But... A book that not only engages your emotions but physically manifests them through frowns, sighs, tears, gasps, and fist-clenching-nails-digging-into-palms tension deserves no less than 5 stars from me.
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Reading Progress

09/27/2010 page 14
4.0% "Dude... That was harsh." 5 comments
09/28/2010 page 65
18.0% ""It wasn't easy, but it was doable. Being busy helped. Having no moral or philosophical opposition to solitary releases helped. Immersing himself in his chosen field helped - thermodynamic equations and advanced calculus tended to keep one's mind off breasts and buttocks."" 2 comments
09/28/2010 page 67
18.0% ""She didn't even break her stride. "My Lord Christopher, with your family's depleted resources and your vast personal charm, I predict you'll marry any heiress who would have you, teeth and literacy on her part strictly optional.""" 1 comment
09/28/2010 page 106
29.0% """I see you don't remember me." He gave the fur behind Croesus's ear a wistful scratch. "I have missed you." Awwww" 4 comments
09/28/2010 page 245
67.0% ""Having silenced Gigi and strangled Camden's mirth, His Grace turned to Victoria and smiled again, a full smile this time. She nearly melted into her chair, leaving nothing behind but a whalebone corset and an assemblage of skirts."" 3 comments
09/29/2010 page 297
81.0% "Noooo!!!!! Don't go!!!!!"
05/30/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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new_user Ooooh, I wonder what you'll think!

Quinn Looking forward to it! I hear it's quite the ride. Only on page 2 and I like the writing already: "...chins collided with dinner plates throughout London's most pedigreed dining rooms." LOL.

new_user LOL! Great writing, for sure! And you put it aptly. A ride, LOL. This is a turbulent book!

Quinn Excellent *rubs hands together*. I do like that in a historical!

Keri This was an awesome read!

Quinn So far, definitely so good!

new_user Yay!

message 8: by Dina (new)

Dina Excellent review, Quinn. I might be too chicken for this book, though.

Quinn Thanks Dina. It was pretty full-on, but really well-written.

new_user You know, when we sum up this book, it sounds typical, but I couldn't tell. The familiar elements are completely unrecognizable when reading, and it really brings home that those who love you can hurt you most.

Quinn, I know what you mean about the ending, and I think you might like NQaH because of that. I thought it had more resolution. Dina, you might like that one more too if there's too much carnage in this one for you, LOL.

And isn't it amazing how striking and powerful she managed to make their love scenes even when they were so brief?

Quinn You're right NU. I found this one a hard one to review, because you just can't do it justice (or at least I couldn't!).

You're right about the love scenes - that first one when he comes back. Ouch.

message 12: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB Great review Quinn! Too painful for me to read but still sounds interesting.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Quinn, thanks for your review. This book hits too many sore spots for me, so I'm going to pass on it. I agree that Sherry Thomas is a very good writer. I thought His at Night was excellent.

Catherine Great review! I don't regret reading this book, but I sincerely doubt that I'll ever read it again. I was less impressed than you, but I do agree that this author has excellent writing. Now I just wish I could like her storylines more! :)

I also hope she leaves out the constant flashbacks next time. It was nice to see the beginning instead of being told about it, but it really shortchanged the present relationship. In my eyes at least.

new_user Yeah, there was more told in flashbacks than in the present, I felt.

Quinn Thanks ladies! This is definitely not one for everyone. I didn't mind the flashbacks so much Catherine. I think they helped intersperse some lightness, otherwise it would have all been too much for me! I am not usually a fan of that plot devise, though.

Catherine I wouldn't have minded the flashbacks so much if it had just been past and present alternating. With the inclusion of chapters being devoted to the secondary romance I really felt shortchanged. It seriously felt like I only got 1/3 of the book devoted to reconciling them. It was just too short of a time for me to feel good about their longevity when the book ended.

Quinn I agree about the secondary romance chapters. They definitely interrupted the momentum, but I liked the characters and there were some cute moments. I absolutely second your thoughts about the resolution - definitely underdone as I said in my review, but I found the rest of the book so powerful that I couldn't downgrade my rating.

Catherine I did like the secondary romance. I found it charming. I just felt it took too much time away from a book that wasn't advertised as theirs.

I agree, this was a very powerful book. I know a large majority of people loved it because of its intensity.

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* What a great review, Quinn! Hmm... You've got me interested.*tapping finger to lips* So, in comparison to the pain I felt reading The Bronze Horseman, how does this compare? ^_^ Granted, this sounds very different in that they seem to be deliberately hurting each other in this one. Would I be correct in saying that?

Quinn Ahh, Jayne, I do believe you might be a masochist - maybe I am too.

This is a different kind of pain than TBH. You are absolutely correct in saying that they are deliberately hurting each other, and it is hard to 'watch' because they just can't seem to get past it.

I think TBH was more powerful, and therefore more painful in some ways than this one, because a lot of T & A's issues were almost outside of their control. In this one, they are creating the conflict, rather than it coming from outside sources.

I think you said you had an interest in psychology, so you might 'enjoy' this one if you look at it from that perspective. It's quite a fascinating study.

message 22: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Nov 25, 2010 02:04AM) (new) - added it

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Quinn wrote: "Ahh, Jayne, I do believe you might be a masochist - maybe I am too."

LOL! I'm becoming more and more convinced that I am, Quinn. Not in the physical BDSM kind *LOL* but I seem to enjoy books that make me feel emotional pain. As long as there is a satisfying ending, that is. ^_^

Quinn wrote: "I think you said you had an interest in psychology, so you might 'enjoy' this one if you look at it from that perspective. It's quite a fascinating study."

Yes, I studied Psych at Uni though didn't end up going into that career. I ordered the book!

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* FYI, I have a soft spot for tortured characters. I just love them to bits and want them to heal from whatever scars they have, to move on, and grow, and find happiness. ^_^

Quinn Jayne wrote: I ordered the book!

Woot! I cannot wait to discuss this one with you!

new_user Yay, Jayne! Hope you enjoy it too!

Pravana What a beautifully written review! Reading your review was what convinced me to give the author and book a try, and...
After I finished the book I came back to read your review again to appreciate it again. Must say that you've written a fantastic review..

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