My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
When I first started The Arrangement by Robyn Harding, I was hit hardest by all the cliches that seemed to be happening one after another. Poor student from a small town, down on her luck, loses her job, roommates are overly critical and bitchy, etc ... then I realized, this is likely the story of many 'Sugar Babies'.
While the main character, Natalie isn't very likable, she is young and she is flawed and does redeem herself - in my eyes at least - towards the end of the book. It's hard for me to connect with a MC that I don't really like but it's also good to read a book that has characters that are as imperfect at the rest of us.
Ms. Harding sheds a lot of light on the ugliness this type of 'arrangement' can have and after reading the author's note in the back, found that she did actual interviews with women on a Sugar Baby site giving her a unique insight into what really goes on.
While it's a good suspense/murder mystery, it also explores family dynamics and unhealthy relationships. Did I mention there's a few surprise twists?
I'll be reading more of Robyn Harding in the future.
A big thank you to Goodreads for the giveaway that allowed me to read this book!
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