02/05/2007

An Old-Fashioned Arrangement (by Susie Vereker)

'An Old-fashioned Arrangement' by Susie Vereker is published by Transita, and pretty much fits the genre of 'chick-lit for the middle-aged'.

Kim, whose husband travels a lot, isn't worried that she hasn't heard from him for a while. Then two people from his company arrive on her doorstep and tell her that he's missing, feared dead.

It's the kind of opening that seems to appear fairly often in modern novels, but Kim's circumstances are rather different from the norm. For one thing, she's living in Geneva, in a house rented by her husband's company. In the absence of her husband, she will soon be homeless. Enter Henri, their landlord and neighbour. He's a charming and elderly roué who has always rather liked Kim as well as being friendly with James. He proposes an "arrangement" which rather shocks her... but she accepts.

On the whole I enjoyed the story - it's light-hearted with serious overtones . It's plot-driven with several fast-moving subplots, which isn't my personal preference in novels, but I did find myself reading fairly compulsively. On the other hand, I would have liked the characters to be stronger and more believable. Most of Kim's friends are caricatures, and I couldn't quite believe that Kim would be so naive at the start of the story, or that she would change so fast.

Still, a pleasant enough light read for those who enjoy this genre. Not available in the USA, apparently. My fuller review is at the Bookbag site.

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