Score: 3/5 Bookmarks
The Arrangement by Robyn Harding is set in the world of Sugar Baby and Sugar Daddy relationships, and takes place in New York City. The story line was compelling and suspenseful enough to keep me reading, although I worked out the ending by three-quarters of the way through. At times the dialogue felt clunky and unrealistic and I found myself getting annoyed at some of the language that was used i.e. “A stab of regret constricted his heart muscle.” Heart muscle was used in several instances instead of just saying ‘heart’. That might seem like a petty grievance, but it is just one example of strange phrasing that pulled me out of the story to wonder ‘what the?’ Personally, I believe that good writing should go un-noticed and help immerse you in a story. If it is constantly distracting you from what is actually being said then it needs to be re-written.
There were also a lot of instances of poor research and inconsistencies throughout. For example, the main character is given a handgun, by someone she barely knows, in New York City. She then proceeds to think about having to ‘rack the slide’ on her revolver. There is SO much wrong with this whole scenario that I barely know where to start. New York has extremely strict gun laws. There is zero chance of someone just giving this young girl they’ve just met a handgun. AND revolvers don’t have slides to be ‘racked’…they revolve, hence the name.
I also found the main character’s naïveté to be extremely annoying and often cringeworthy. I too am from a small country town and would never have made a quarter of Natalie’s bad decisions at her age. There were so many times I wanted to reach through the book and give her a good shake.
Having said all of that, I did enjoy reading the book. I raced through it on a ferry-ride from Victoria to Seattle, and if you like suspenses you may well enjoy this one.
Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.
Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.
So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.