What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

I saw The Engagements in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago and I was immediately interested. Once I started reading it, I was hooked.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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.
What I Liked: 1) My favorite part of this story was following the timeline. What the summary doesn't tell you is that at the very core, this story is about a ring, one diamond engagement ring and how it follows these different couples over the span of about 80 years. The story itself covers about 100 years. It begins with the initial inception of the De Beers campaign slogan "A Diamond is Forever," and then through the progression of the different generations of couples, it proves how true that statement is. Sometimes I have trouble following a story with a lot of characters. But this one is done very well, and because they are from different generations, it is easy to follow. It examines how the concept of relationships, engagements, and marriage has changed throughout the years. I loved this part of it, it was beautifully written and thoroughly explained. 2) The characters. This is the part of the review where I typically choose a favorite character and talk about what I liked about them. It's really hard to pick a favorite in this book because they were all so wonderfully different. They were all developed themselves, but also as a part of a couple, and it was their relationships that created the majority of the story lines. There was so much complexity involved in this story but it did not hinder the book in the slightest. Instead, it only made it richer.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall Thoughts: I'm actually having a hard time putting into words what exactly I loved about this book. I'm sure part of it was that it was so different that what I'm usually reading, and it's always refreshing to step outside the norm. But The Engagements was a lovely and fulfilling novel without being fluffy. It also never crossed the line into dark either. Have y'all noticed that in YA fiction it seems to be one or the other? Fluffy or dark? Maybe that's what is so great about branching out into adult fiction, at least every once in a while. This is the second book I've picked up after seeing it in Entertainment Weekly and really enjoyed (the other being Crazy Rich Asians). I'm going to have to start checking out more books EW recommends! The Engagements is one of my favorite books I've read recently. The plot itself comes alive as you travel through the life of a diamond and how it represents love to many couple throughout the years. It's beautiful, complex, and very rich and I think that EVERYONE will enjoy it!

My Rating: 5 shots

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