The Arrangement, by Robyn Harding

10 Jun
the arrangement robyn harding

Four of 5 Stars

Basically this book is the kind of trash you need for a day at the beach or between meatier books. And I mean that in the best way.

The first half is really just a very simplistic outline for a Lifetime movie. Look, I’m not talking down to Lifetime, we all watch Lifetime occasionally because sometimes we need to take a break and watch women with bigger and crazier problems than our own. This book is Lifetime to its core, but with a better and more complicated ending than you would see on TV.

The second half starts some action and I enjoyed it a lot more. It’s trash but it is basically well written trash. Although the characters are pretty one-dimensional (Natalie is a stereotypical naive small town girl darkened by the big city), the plot gets complicated and there are no glaring holes. I’m not saying it’s realistic, and the big explanation at the end requires a lot of luck, coincidence and great timing, but there was nothing that made me want to throw the book.

The down sides:
The first 50% really is your typical outline for a story that’s been told so many times before, and there is really no meat to it at all.
The end of it might have gone too far in explanation, as I had bought into it long before hearing the complicated series of events that happened and it seems like a lot of luck would be required to get away with all of that.

The up sides:
I liked that there were no explicit sex scenes.
I liked the twists and turns. Even though I guessed the culprit very early on there was no way to know for sure until the end.
I felt pretty satisfied with the last couple pages.
And though Natalie is such a stereotypical character, and so simply written at first, I thought her descent into the madness of a young broken heart was pretty accurate. As much as I wanted to shake her, to yell at her, her actions felt real and familiar.

I don’t know how to explain why I really liked this book that is basically trash-turned-thriller, but sometimes you need some trash in your reading pile, and it’s always nice to read an easy thriller that doesn’t make you crazy with contradictions and plot holes. It’s fairly well-written trash and when you need that for your book club bingo card, pick this one.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for the ARC in return for an honest review. I’ve never been afraid to give a book a bad review, but this book was a pleasure to read.

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