June 2019

RHC 2019: Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

This post is part of a series in which I describe the twenty-four books I read in 2019 for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

Task: Read a historical romance by an author of color.

Man, if I keep these challenges up, I may wind up reading romances for fun. This was fun. 

According to the author bio on the back page, English is Sherry Thomas’s second language – she learned it at age of 13 when she moved to the United States from China. At that point, she taught herself English by reading romance novels, and here is the rather fabulous result. It’s her first book, too. I love reading firsts because I hope to one day have a first. 

Based on this book, I’m guessing she’s read and reread her Austen pretty thoroughly. There’s a wry humor here that feels like it has some P&P DNA. It’s about a couple who begin their marriage very much in love, before it’s derailed by a painful betrayal, and then spend a number of years essentially estranged from each other, while keeping up appearances. And then they fall in looooooooooooooooove again. 

Gigi and Camden are delightfully flawed characters, and their bitter back-and-forth ribbing has a Much Ado About Nothing vibe that’s a lot of fun. The setting is very fully realized too. I don’t like generic backdrops, and late nineteenth century English high society as written by an American is a risky proposition. But enough homework was done for this world to feel substantial, and I thoroughly enjoyed the well-mannered and well-worded sniping and snogging.