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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tuesday Titles 011: The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan..

It's not often that I'm looking forward to receiving an advance copy of a book because of hearing so much about it, but that was what happened with The Engagements . Needless to say, I was rather excited when I was asked to be part of the blog tour.


Engagements
The Engagements by J Courtney Sullivan 

I rather liked the way this book was written over different decades, mostly in America.
Straight away, the reader is thrown into Frances' 1947 world. Working as a copywriter in an American advertising agency, and strongly opposed to the idea of getting married and "disappearing into a life of motherhood and isolation", I couldn't help but envisage a Peggy-from-Mad-Men type. How ironic, therefore, that her job is to come up with a slogan to sell diamond engagement rings. 

A diamond is forever. 

Did these four words change everything?

Skipping back and forth between Harvard in the 1920s, 1970s suburbia, 1980s Boston, a Parisian music shop in 2003 and following plans for a modern-day wedding, I spent the first few chapters wondering how the lives of all of these people could be connected. How would the chic Delphine turn out to be connected to James, overworked EMT struggling with the belief that his wife could have done better, if they were connected at all?

Most of the book flicks between decades and the lives of the main characters and as a reader I found myself happy to be part of that journey. Unlike most books, I liked all of the characters (with the possible exception of P.J. I was most interested in Mary Frances, who was a real person, and really did come up with the advertising slogan. Her story intrigued me the most as it outlined the problems for a single woman in her lifetime. Problems with career progression, and even with things like being unable to join the local golf club because she didn't have a husband.

As someone who is personally against the concept of marriage, I was frustrated on her behalf. I found myself able to relate with Kate and her views on the wedding industry, although I must admit I've not given that much thought to the modern-day diamond industry until reading The Engagements.

Sadly, the author wasn't able to take part in the Q+A, which is a shame as I'd be genuinely interested in her thoughts on marriage. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would absolutely recommend it. Go read..

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