Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: The Engagements

By Amy Bromberg

Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

The minute I saw Rebecca Schinsky's post about The Engagements, I knew I had to get my hands on it. (I always enjoy her posts on Book Riot.) J. Courtney Sullivan's previous novel, Maine, is just incredible (by the way this is a great summer read). After almost 50 pages into Maine, I had instantly become a fan.

Ms. Sullivan does an absolute beautiful job in intertwining these stories together. There are some novels that I've read that go back and forth between time periods, and have multiple characters, where I've gotten confused. I've had to go back and re-read a section from time to time. I didn't experience this at all with this book. The pages flowed smoothly, like calm ocean waters.

One of the main things that makes this novel exquisite is how magnificently written and developed the characters are. Sullivan writes with such vivid imagery and detail. The characters come alive as the stories unfold. I became attached to each character, and then got sad when it ended.

The Engagements is an excellent book club pick. So many different people can relate to it. I can see a book club needing to discuss this one over more than just one meeting. That's how intricate and deep it is. I also agree wholeheartedly with all of the articles and posts saying how this is a fantastic summer read. Here are just two: Kirkus and The New York Times. The reader is transported to many different time periods. I could see myself just getting lost in the pages while lying on the beach.

I'd like to say another congrats to Ms. Sullivan on her nuptials last month. Talk about timing, huh?

Last, but certainly not least, The Engagements is going to be made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon! It was announced in this Deadline article.

Thanks to Alfred A. Knopf Publishing (a division of Random House) for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

Jovon Tucker said...

Oh, this sounds interesting!