Sunday, September 5, 2010

Private Arrangements

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas 515

Phillippa, Gigi, Rowland has been raised her whole life to expect marriage to a Duke. Her parents are both in trade and she is extremely wealthy so it would not be unreasonable for her to snare a titled, but broke, gentleman. She succeeds when she catches the attention of Lord Tremaine, heir to the current Duke of Fairford. When he dies she is distraught but soon sets her sight on his cousin, Camden Saybrook, the new Lord of Tremaine and it is not long before the two have fallen for each other. Unfortunately Camden is already promised to another woman and although they are not engaged, he considers himself taken despite his feelings for Gigi. She decides to take care of the matter by forging a letter from this woman claiming to have already married and setting Camden free. He promptly proposes to Gigi, and both are secure in the knowledge that they will have a great marriage. But right before the wedding he discovers her deception and marries her with the intention of making her life miserable afterwards.

He succeeds admirably, turning her away whenever she tries to seduce him, belittling her, refusing to forgive her, and taking another woman to his bed, until she finally admits they will never have a marriage. Ten years later she wants to marry a sweet young man, Lord Freedie, and asks Camden for a divorce. He agrees on the condition that she provide him with an heir within the next year, but Gigi has no intention of becoming pregnant or divulging the truth of their relationship to Lord Freddie. Being together brings up all the happy memory of when they were together before the marriage and makes them remember all of the mistakes they had both made in the past about their relationship. They are both scared of getting hurt, afraid of making the same mistakes, afraid of putting themselves out on a limb for the other after everything that had happened. When both of them realize what is happening it is going to take both of them to gather their courage, take a leap, and start on a new life together.

Another book about a married couple who hates each other and causes each other endless amounts of misery over something really fairly miniscule. Is this a new trend in romance novels? I guess I am just naturally inclined to be more forgiving towards heroines than their male counterparts, and while I admit that what she did was certainly bad- to hold it over her head for over ten years was more than a tad much. He was unbearably cruel to her even after she apologized numerous times and even he admitted it tore him apart! I cannot understand why he just did not forgive her or at least try to make something more of their marriage. The book contains many flashbacks to their courtship/ early marriage and while it was nice to have such a rich back story I would really have preferred to see more of them in the present, getting OVER what had happened in the past. The flashbacks were very emotional and it was so sad to read about them going from the happy perfect couple to these two people who hated each other, especially about how mean Camden became towards Gigi.

I can see why Gigi would be a very unlikable character but I won't lie, I loved how honest she was about her expectations and what she wanted. She was brash, she was somewhat offensive, and she went after what she wanted. Yes- people got hurt, but it was certainly a strong heroine who remained likable despite that. I also loved that she admitted her mistake about the letter and worked so hard to bring her marriage back together. Camden was not so likable and I really wanted to slap him quite a bit and tell him to get over it. The sex was interesting because there were some scenes that were incredibly hot, some that merely stopped when things got good, and a couple that were a little squicky because they were just doing it to get pregnant. I didn't have a problem with the fact that they had each taken lovers, because they both did and, oddly enough, because there had not been feelings involved- to me that would be worse. I liked the very short romance between Gigi's mother and a younger Duke quite a bit- maybe more than the main story.

Rating: This book was too emotional for even me. I really think this book deserves about 2 1/2 because I don't imagine I'd recommend this to anyone, but I can see how some might like it.

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