Monday, April 14, 2008

Private Arrangements Review

Book: Private Arrangements
Author: Sherry Thomas
Category: Historical
Grade: A-

To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, freedom—and living on separate continents.

But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines… When Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, Lord Tremaine, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming: she simply had to have him. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding—and Gigi wants to be free to marry again. Now Camden has returned from America with an outrageous demand—an heir—in exchange for Gigi’s 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.

Spirited, eighteen year old Gigi Rowland is all set to be married to the Duke of Fairford. Her mothers determination in snagging Gigi a duke, coupled with Gigi's direct manner has secured her future as a Duchess. Neither Rowland woman could be more pleased. That is, of course, until The Duke dies suddenly, leaving Gigi back at square one.

One fateful day, not too long after the Dukes death, Gigi comes face to face with the man of her dreams, Camden Shaybrook. Gigi is immediately taken with Camden. Not only is he handsome and smart, but he's the nephew of the late Duke of Fairford and in line for the Dukedom. The feelings Gigi has for Camden are mutual, as Camden is taken by her as well. What should be a perfect opportunity for marriage, Gigi soon finds out is not. Camden is already promised to another woman and even though he wants Gigi, he thinks it wrong to back out of his proposal.

Gigi is devastated to find out that Camden will not break his promise to the other girl, and in her determination to have him as her own she forms a plot to get him and does. What should be a happy beginning to their marriage, turns into a quick and bitter end when Camden finds out Gigi's scheme and leaves her.

Ten years later, Gigi has found love again and wishes to divorce Camden and marry her intended, Fredrick. Camden, who has been living in America, travels back to England to give Gigi her divorce, but there is one catch; Gigi must give him an heir first. Left with not much choice in the matter, Gigi agrees to Camden's terms.

What begins as a duty for them both turns into more as new feelings emerge and old ones resurface. It becomes painfully clear that Gigi and Camden must deal with their past before either one can move on with their future.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. Private Arrangements is told in alternating chapters of present and past. Slowly, the events that occurred between Gigi and Camden years prior unravel, revealing the deceit that ended their marriage before it had a chance to begin. The journey that both Camden and Gigi take through the book is one of ups and downs. There were times that I cringed at the hurt that came off the pages. I mean, I really felt it. This doesn't happen often with me. Where a character experiences something horrible in a book, and I experience it right along with them. I can honestly say that when Camden left Gigi after they married, I felt like I was being left. The scene was heartbreaking.

Then there were moments where Camden and Gigi were lighthearted with each other, and I was granted with a glimpse into what they could have been if not for the betrayal Camden felt. At those moments I wanted so desperately for them to work it out. The way that Sherry Thomas wrote Camden and Gigi's past love was the main reason that I wanted them to find a future love again. Without that background being written as well as it was, I could have easily disliked Camden way too much to care.

I also liked that Fredrick, Gigi's intended, was not portrayed in a negative light. Too often the other man/woman is drawn out as horrible, or devious or harboring a nefarious purpose. Fredrick was none of that, he was likeable even if he did come off as a little simple.

While Camden and Gigi's story is playing out, Gigi's mother, Victoria Rowland, is discovering her own love with the Duke that she once thought she would marry. This secondary story does not take away from the book at all, to me it only enhanced the overall story.

In the end, Private Arrangements was a great read from a new author. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a historical with a fresh take. Great characters, excellent writing, engrossing story. Grade A-



  1. What a great review Brie.
    I heard mixed reactions to this book, but I really like your take so I think I will pick it up after all!

  2. This sounds like a tearjerker--I need to put it on my TBR list for when I'm in the mood for one of those. I love a good emotionally engaging historical, but I really have to be in the mood for some tears. Sounds weird, doesn't it? I enjoyed your review! Good job.

  3. Great review Brie! I have added this to my TBR list.

  4. Hi Ana, welcome. I heard mixed reviews on this one as well so I went into reading it with the negatives in mind. Luckily for me, I ended up really liking this book. I can see where someone might not, though. I think it depends on your personal romance tastes.

    Kmont, While I didn't shed any tears, I did have to put the book down a time or two and regroup.

    Jill, I love your take on romance books, and am looking forward to seeing what you think of this book after you get a chance to read it.

  5. Great review. It's so true, at times the hurt was so intense, and so were the points of camaraderie.

    Hey KMONT: I wouldn't consider this a tearjerker, either. A pageturner, though.

  6. Great new look. Very feminine. :)

    I have this in the TBR. I'm in a sci-fi/futuristic reading phase right now, so I'll wait until the historical phase to read this. :)

  7. CJ, "page turner" is a good description for this book. It kept me riveted to the page.

    Thanks Jace, it was time for a change.

    I know exactly what you mean about being on a kick, I've been on a historical one myself.