Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Private Arrangements
Author: Sherry Thomas
Spoiler level: medium
Okay, I’m almost halfway through Private Arrangements now. I think everybody knows the plot of this: husband Camden and wife Gigi reside on different continents. Ten years later she wants a divorce to marry another. Camden returns with his outrageous demand.
In novels, you have two sorts of character fun: characters that are known up front and go around doing what they’ll do through the novel, and characters that are revealed through the novel.
This is a novel of revealed character—and deliciously so. The slow build of these two characters sheds light on the events that caused these two to fly apart, as well as the ways they belong together, the ways they might come together, the ways they might soften in their standoff. It’s very pleasurable, really; the more fully you get to know these characters, the more tension is created.
So, my great moment of last night’s reading was the highly enjoyable meeting between Camden and Lord Frederick, the man Gigi has chosen to marry. Lord Frederick is an unexpected choice: while Gigi is something of a shark, or at least has that in her, her beloved Lord Frederick is this innocent, pure-hearted artist who is quite younger than her and not at all like Camden.
Upon this first meeting, Lord Frederick doesn’t know Camden knows about him:
Camden had expected to see a prime specimen of a man. Lord Frederick was not that man. Next to Lord Wrenworth, he seemed all too ordinary, his looks pleasant but unremarkable, his attire a year or two behind the forefront of fashion, his demeanor unsophisticated.
Then Camden invites Lord Frederick to come see his art collection if Lord Frederick is ever in NYC:
The poor boy clearly struggled, wondering whether he was being played for a fool, but he chose to answer Camden’s invitation as if it had been issued in good faith. "I shall be honored, sir."
In that moment, Camden saw what Gigi must have seen in the boy: his goodness, his sincerity, his willingness to think the best of everyone he met, a willingness that arose less from naivete than from an inborn sweetness.
As a reader, I find it enjoyable musing over what it means about Gigi and how she’s changed or deepened as a person that she’d pick this guy. Though not as fun as discovering what it means through the eyes of Camden. I don’t know if this angle will be exploited or not, but I’m fixated on this Lord Frederick—and also the way art works in here. And the dog, actually. We'll see what happens. Perhaps I will read some more of this book in front of the fire tonight!
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