Thursday, August 29, 2019

Book Review: "The Arrangement" by Robyn Harding

Natalie has always wanted to be an artist, perhaps even an illustrator of children's books. She's proud of herself for moving from her small town in Washington to New York City to study, finally getting away from her mother and stepfather and their perfect children, and the possessive boyfriend who wanted to control her.

She loves New York City but is struggling financially. Between tuition, rent, and regular expenses, she can never seem to get her head above water, and in fact, is more in debt than she'd care to be, which doesn't please her two difficult, judgmental roommates, who are searching for any excuse to kick her out. She's working as hard as she can but she doesn't know how it's all going to work.

One day, when discussing her financial woes, a classmate of hers shares a suggestion that has worked for her: become a sugar baby. Nat can put up a profile on a website geared for men looking for attractive younger women to pay for dates and companionship. She could control what she does (and how much she'd get paid for it), and perhaps she could even find a man willing to pay her a monthly allowance to be exclusive.

At first, Nat is absolutely horrified by this concept. There's no way she would find an older man attractive or be willing to do anything, no matter how badly she needs the money. But her opinion changes quickly when she meets Gabe Turnmill, a handsome, powerful attorney who is 30 years Nat's senior. Even though Gabe is paying her to go out with him, she feels like he understands her and views her as more than a sugar baby.

As they spend more time with each other, Nat begins falling in love with Gabe, and she's sure that he feels the same way. But she doesn't know that Gabe hasn't told her the whole truth—that he's actually still married—and he has no intention of walking away from his marriage and his teenage daughter, no matter how attractive he finds Nat and how much she seems to need him.

When Gabe breaks it off with Nat, he expects she'll walk away like all of the other women before her have. He isn't counting on how strongly she feels for him, and how angry she is that he is trying to simply discard her. She thought, despite their arrangement, that things were different, and she vows to make him pay, even while she begs him to take her back. But Gabe isn't going to let anyone jeopardize the life he has built—no matter what that requires.

The Arrangement is a fast-paced, completely addictive story about the thin line between love and obsession, and how easy it is to put aside all logical thought for the sake of sex, love, and/or money. It's the story of protecting yourself and not letting anyone get the best of you, while at the same time it's an insightful commentary on the sugar daddy/sugar baby relationship which is very real in our society today.

While I wouldn't call this a thriller per se, it definitely has some twists and turns, some I saw coming and some I didn't. Robyn Harding doesn't pull any punches when she gives her characters flaws, yet in some small way you feel badly for them when things don't quite go their way. This was one of those books I didn't want to put down, and if I were on a plane I would have easily finished it in one sitting—it's that compelling.

This is the first of Harding's books I've read and it certainly won't be the last. It's a bit of a cross between Pretty Woman and Fatal Attraction, although it's still very much its own book. Pick it up and you probably won't want to put it down!

No comments:

Post a Comment