The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

The Arrangement

Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favours are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

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The Arrangement or let’s learn all about sugar daddies and babies! I don’t think this novel did anything ground breaking. I was rolling my eyes a lot because the characters did exactly what you expected them to do.

Nat thinks that she has found her dream guy. Unfortunately he is paying her to date him and he has a wife and daughter. Gabe is no longer attracted to his wife. He is a high paid lawyer and has found a site that will let him pay to date and later dump younger women. I wasn’t a fan of either Nat or Gabe. Again the situation that they got themselves in, you could see from a mile away.

Thankfully the ending wasn’t something that I saw. Right from the beginning, we knew that someone was killed. I was surprised on who that person was as well as who the killer was. I only wish that the ending was a bit longer to do into the details of why the murdered decided to do what they did.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. An addicting novel that I read in one sitting on a lazy Saturday afternoon. If you are looking for a quick read with a surprise ending and don’t mind about reading about sugar daddies/babies then check out The Arrangement.

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Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Her Pretty Face

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

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Is it just me or have you also been reading a lot of thrillers about female best friends? In these thrillers an event happens and then they realized that their friend wasn’t the person they thought they were? I feel like I have read a ton of them! I’ve read some good ones (Best Friends Forever) and some horrible ones (A Simple Favor).

I liked Her Pretty Face, but I feel that there is a bit of a pattern with these types of novels and I’m not a huge fan of them. There was no big shocker, just how to react to a friend who isn’t who you thought she was.

Similar to her earlier novel, The Party, I flew through it. There is something about Harding’s writing style that has me flipping pages way too quickly. There were some other similarities, including multiple perspectives which includes a mother and a teenager. It could be me, but I can’t relate to Harding’s teenager characters at all. They don’t act like any teenager that I know (or grew up with)!

3 calculators out of a potential 5. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Harding’s novels!

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The Party by Robyn Harding

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

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The Party was our in person book club choice for October. Out of 6 women, the average rating was about a 2.5 out of 5, where no one loved it, but no one completely hated it. I rated it on the higher end because it was a book that I couldn’t put down. It was a super easy read, which I flew through in 2 sittings.

The novel takes place during and after a sweet sixteen party goes horribly wrong. All of the characters are very unlikable, especially 16 year old birthday girl Hannah and her mother, Kim. You get both the thoughts of Hannah and Kim and oh boy you just wanted to shake some sense into them. You also get the thoughts of Jeff (Kim’s husband) and Lisa (a mother of one of Hannah’s friends) and they weren’t much better. A lot of selfish characters who just wanted to defend themselves.

I was super disappointed with the ending of the novel. It just ended. I wanted so much more. It’s hard to explain without getting into spoilers, but it seemed like the author didn’t want to choose a side and just kind of threw her hands up and boom the novel is done.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. I liked that the novel told both sides of the story and had you wanting to pick a side. Unfortunately, with the unlikable characters and failure of an ending, it was a let down.

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