- Publisher: Black Swan
- Format: Paperback | 304 pages
- Dimensions: 126mm x 200mm x 20mm | 200g
- Publication date: 1 November 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0552776750
- ISBN 13: 9780552776752
- Sales rank: 9,340
Chloe needs a holiday. She's sick of making wedding dresses and her partner is having trouble at work. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain - perfect. Hugh is not a happy man. His immaculate wife seems more interested in the granite for the new kitchen than in him, and he works so hard to pay for it all, he barely has time to see their children. But his old schoolfriend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain - perfect. Both families arrive at the villa and get a shock: Gerard has double-booked. An uneasy week of sharing begins, and tensions soon mount in the soaring heat. But there's also a secret history between the families - and as tempers fray, an old passion begins to resurface...
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Madeleine Wickham was born in London and published her first novel, The Tennis Party, while working as a financial journalist. Under the name of Sophie Kinsella she is the author of many number one bestselling novels including the Shopaholic series, now filmed as Confessions of a Shopaholic. She lives in London with her husband and children.
By Karielle 30 May 2013
I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella and this is the first book I've tried of her chick-lit line featuring less romance and more grounded issues-through her real name, Madeleine Wickham. Sleeping Arrangements is light, refreshing, and has a bit of a implausible-but still charmingly British-storyline; I enjoyed it immensely, but don't think it's something from which I took much away.
The hidden past surrounding Chloe and Hugh is slowly unraveled through flashbacks. From their first encounter at Gerard's villa, there's an explosive recognition-boom. From there on, readers slowly learn what exactly it is that's between them, and how exactly they'll react. Without giving too much away, I will say the plot itself was highly extractable and far-fetched, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Wickham's characters aren't particularly deep. For the most part, they're static and unrelateable, but she pens them with such grace and endearment, that I can't help but like them all. Even the ones that are portrayed negatively, such as Hugh's ridiculously anal wife, Amanda, are pleasing and entertaining to follow.
The highlight of this novel would definitely be its execution. The plot and characters themselves are mediocre and unremarkable, but the writing flows easily, and Wickham's style is smooth, often subtly hilarious, and blithe. I breezed through this novel; Sleeping Arrangements is a quick, lighthearted story set to the backdrop of a gorgeous Spanish town; a great read for a sunny day!
Pros: Charmingly clever // Witty and perceptive // Linear storyline // Light, breezy read // Masterful, yet brief description of Spanish countryside
Cons: Shallow, two-dimensional characters // Nothing deep or profound // Unmemorable
Verdict: Cute and fluffy, Sleeping Arrangements isn't particularly complex or profound, but it's a damn entertaining read. The characters are fun to get to know and the story unravels by itself; this is effortless, feel-good chick-lit with stormy twists and turns and a penchant for family values. Madeleine Wickham weaves a funny, breezy, and tender story with her usual British magnetism and sprightliness of touch.
Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read; highly recommended.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by TripFiction in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).
"Lightness of touch and witty observation make this a perfect holiday read" Sunday Mirror