oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS

Sherry Thomas, Private Arrangements: This is a romance of a romance gone wrong that takes years to mend. It's told in alternating present-day (Victoria Period) and flashback to the beginnings of the couple's relationship. I don't normally like flashbacks, but the author used them skillfully to draw out the characters' tension and pain almost unbearably. The reader knows from the opening section that the couple's marriage led to essential separation for ten years, so reading their hopeful early encounters is exquisitely painful. There is hope throughout, but it isn't until the characters themselves decide to proactively salvage their relationship that it actually happens.

The heroine, Gigi, is an extraordinarily complex character whom I loved. This book is worth reading just for her; she is active in her own destiny from the start, and it is her action that initially betrays Cam, the hero, and causes him to marry her; however, I felt Cam's reaction was a bit extreme, despite his youth at the time. He is shown to regret his reaction later on in the book, but he doesn't act to show Gigi he forgives her until it's almost too late. Gigi, I felt, was more excusable in using guile to obtain a marriage which she thought would fulfill her, given she'd been trained all her life by her mother to do that very thing, and given that she'd just narrowly escaped being trapped in a different marriage with little possibility of happiness and self-fulfillment. She's just seen what lay in store for her, and she is more trapped by society than Cam is. Cam is betrayed, true, but I felt he was almost looking for a reason to get out of his previous relationship, and in fact truly did want Gigi. It was that which made me find it unlikely he would nurse his grudge against Gigi for so long, unless it was pride alone that prevented him from forgiving her. Perhaps given the period, his excessive pride, or stubbornness, is less startling. Gigi, however, almost immediately regrets her betrayal and tries various methods to redeem it, over quite a long time, before finally giving up. It's only when she's given up that Cam is driven to try and regain her, and he does so in a prideful, manipulative way for as long as he can, until he realizes that unless he acts otherwise, he will lose her.

There's a subsidiary romance between Gigi's widowed mother and a neighboring Duke which I really enjoyed, and which offered some intriguing parallels to Cam and Gigi's relationship.

The prose was excellent, an added bonus. I am definitely adding Thomas to my "must read" list.
Tags: historical, romance, victorian
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