113- Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Likes: Camden and Gigi are such wonderful characters, because they make so much sense. And when I say “make so much sense,” I mean they screw things up so horribly and realistically and heartbreakingly. Until page 328 of 374, I saw no possible way for a happily ever after to come out of so much real person-type emotional mess. Like, Unlocked had a hell of a lot of emotional mess, but it still read like a romance. What the characters did was bad, but there was still always a clear way out. I didn’t feel quite so safe with Thomas, here, even compared to the two other books of hers that I’ve read (and definitely didn’t love as much as this one).
Her prose is also really, really good: there are some really gorgeously-articulated descriptions of characters and setting that she works in without sounding like she was quoting from a reference book. I remembered this one especially (which was also quoted in the Dear Author review I read when I decided to buy it):
There was a sadness to her, the somber melancholy of a high-born woman who could only afford to have a parlor maid come in every other day, who moved in the dark after sunset to save on candle wax. (17)
So, this book=awesome. But it didn’t feel like light reading. More like a narrowly-avoided train wreck. Maybe it was the Gilded Age setting? No one’s ever happy in Gilded Age settings.