Book Title and Author: The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
Publication Date and Publisher: July 30, 2019 by Gallery Books
Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Pages: 352 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: July 13, 2019 (e-arc)
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.
I loved Robyn Harding’s novel Her Pretty Face last summer and knew I had to read The Arrangement this summer; I’ve been holding onto it for months so I could devour it while on vacation because I knew it would be the perfect summer page-turner, you know the perfectly paced, one-sitting read that just blows your mind? Well, this is definitely it!
Natalie Murphy is 21 years old, a broke art student living in NYC. She’s barely making any money as a waitress, is close to being behind on her rent, and her roommates already hate her and want her out. When she asks her friend Ava how she always has money and affords her apartment in Chelsea, Ava tells her she has a sugar baby/sugar daddy relationship through a dating site where she dates wealthy men who pay her. It seems like the perfect solution for Nat, but she’s not that desperate―yet. Until she’s fired from her job, that is.
Nat makes a profile on the sugar daddy website determined to keep things to just dinners; after all, $500 for a dinner is way better than tips! Then she meets Gabe, a 55 year old lawyer. He says he’s divorced (he’s not!) with an 18 yr old daughter but he wants to have an arrangement with Nat where he’ll get her an apartment and a monthly allowance. Nat is more than happy to agree because she’s not in it for the money, it’s nice of course, but she’s more interested in Gabe, obsessed even since she thinks they’re quite a perfect couple. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this arrangement, right??
Wow, the premise for this book is just fascinating! I didn’t know a lot about sugar baby and sugar daddy relationships before I read this, but it was such a unique storyline that I was hooked by the end of the prologue and had to read it in one sitting. It’s just that good! Thanks to Harding’s research of actually interviewing real-life sugar babies, this book had such an authentic vibe that I loved. The drama was dark at times, and the twists were more than clever. And the ending―talk about astounding!
This is an addictive read that is going on my favorite reads of 2019 list. You definitely need to read this tale of seduction, sex, betrayal, obsession, lies, revenge, and murder!
**Thank you Edelweiss and Gallery Books for the ARC. All opinions are my own.**