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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

Gigi and Camden….the perfect couple in London’s polite society, who maintained an amiable distance for 10 years….distance that spanned over two continents….After 10 years Gigi has found the perfect man who would accept her and love her as she is…and she wants to marry him…hence after a decade she asks her husband for a divorce…a quick and convenient end to the marriage that existed only in name for about a decade…..Least does she expect Camden to show up on her doorstep….Agreeing to give her a divorce on ‘one’ condition….She must give him a heir…for which she would have to endure his attentions for a year….a year and if she produced no heirs he would set her free….Gigi agrees to this request somewhat reluctantly …as she sees this as the only way to get rid of  the man who got over her 10 years ago…

Philippa Gilberte Rowland…. ‘Gigi’ is not beautiful, genteel or charming….but she is rich, with no confidence in her womanly wiles but strong faith in her considerable fortune and the opportunity it presents to snag a coronet of Strawberry leaves to become a duchess….She has ‘almost’ snagged herself a duke…’almost’ because the said duke has an accident and dies…..Enter Camden…the afore mentioned duke’s heir….

Camden is a handsome and engaging young man who has single-handedly kept his family from financial ruin, and, like Gigi, understands the importance of wealth and the value of hard work. He is a physicist and admires Gigi’s courage, intelligence and ‘enterprising’ ways….Gigi admires Camden’s intelligence too and both of them have emotional voids that the other could fill.. Between the strong mutual attraction, however, lies a promise Camden has made to another woman, an incredibly shy beauty who continued to waffle on a final decision to marry Camden, despite his honorable intentions to wait her out. Gigi is not so patient, however, and despite Camden’s refusal of her proposal, she ultimately schemes to bring Camden’s attraction more directly into alignment with her intent to marry.

It is a ruse Camden discovers before the wedding, and his anger morphs into a plan to humiliate Gigi without sacrificing his access to her considerable fortune. Thus, after one night of wedded life, Gigi and Camden are separated for a decade, still married but fully estranged. When Camden arrives at Gigi’s doorstep demanding an heir in exchange for the divorce she is now seeking, all the unsettled emotion between them flares, bringing the civility of ten years’ separation to a quick, blessed end.

The novel proceeds as an unfolding of Gigi and Camden’s relationship, past and present. The strategy works well, helping build the emotional tension in the couple’s current estrangement by slowly revealing the events leading up to it, including the incredibly strong connection between Gigi and Camden at the beginning of their relationship.  And as I shuffled between the past and the present with the story I was not sure whose side I was on. Initially I was with Camden because he was deceived, then I was with Gigi because Camden blinded by his pride just could not see her love. By the end I was not sure whether  I was on Camden’s side of the argument or Gigi’s. But by then I was already praying for their reconciliation.

This would definitely be a 9/10 book! Just for the sheer spectrum of emotions it invokes in the reader and its somewhat selfish, but lovely yet practical characters!

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