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Private Arrangements by Sherry ThomasLawson’s review of Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Historical romance released by Bantam Books 25 Mar 08

It’s a hard thing to do, write a review. After reading Private Arrangements, it’s even more difficult of a review to write. I don’t want to leave the assumption that there aren’t any good things about it. It’s a very well written story. The language is smart and there aren’t any “beat this into the reader’s head” type of themes. Both the hero and heroine are characterized extremely well and don’t do anything that goes against the grain of their characters. But. . .

Isn’t it sad that there’s a “but”? What’s worse is I just can’t put my finger on what it is that is possibly bothering me, or at least making me waver on my opinion of the book. Gigi is a little unlikeable at first, especially during the flashbacks when her youth, drive and single-mindedness in getting what she wants, which is actually what her mother wants: to be a duchess. But later what comes out is her insecurities because she’s been hunted for her money and had the idea that a title is what is needed in her life.

Enter Camden, who is newly a Marquess thanks to his cousin’s unfortunate early demise. That cousin was Gigi’s fiancee, whom she had basically blackmailed into marrying her. Camden finds a kindred soul in Gigi, for they both had lonely childhoods and carried the burden of responsibility for the family. Young lust blossoms quickly into young love, which is blind to faults, and in the end leads to betryals that tear the couple apart for ten years.

There’s some flashbacks that tell the story of the courtship, wedding, and subsequent life the two lead for the next ten years interspersed with the happenings of the present, when Gigi is seeking a divorce so she can marry a man she knows adores her and will stand by her. The chemistry between Camden and Gigi is electric, they play off each other’s good and bad sides so well and even though they spend a decade apart, they know each other well because they truly do love each other.

Maybe what bothers me is the wringer Camden and Gigi put themselves through due to how young they are when they meet and not thinking things through when they do them. Or maybe it’s the fact that though they have ten years to grow up and forgive each other it actually takes them that long to do it. Or that Camden, though he puts on a brave, strong front, is possibly just a little weak when it comes down to truly going after what he wants and being happy.

I can’t give this anything less than a high B though. I loved the dialogue, the setting, the scenes, the characters, the subplot with Gigi’s mother and the overall care and detail that Thomas obviously put into this book. Maybe I’m giving it such a high grade because it’s making me think about these things so much and deep down that’s what I want, a book that truly makes me analyze what’s good and bad about it but still gives a good HEA at the end. As well as put in my keeper shelf to reread and think more on in the future.

lawson-icon.jpgGrade: B+

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.

Read an excerpt.

Read Alicia’s review here.