Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Engagements

Just like most Americans, I have heard the famous slogan, "diamonds are forever", for as long as I can remember.  I never took much time to think about it before. However, that changed with the reading of The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan's latest novel.

Frances Gerety penned the now household slogan long ago for DeBeer Diamonds that has stood the test of time.  Sullivan uses some research about Gerety's life to pen chapters in The Engagements depicting her at various stages of her life - as a young copyrighter, as a woman who chose to remain single, and finally as an older woman looking back on her life and career.

Sullivan ties together many different stories set at different times with the common thread of an engagement ring:

Gerald and Evelyn's story begins with their unlikely courtship and eventual marriage.  Their only child is a bit of an embarrassment as he continues to make poor choices in love and life.

James and Sheila struggle with making ends meet and James would like nothing more than to replace the diamond ring that was taken from her when she was robbed.

Delphine lives in France with her husband, Henri, a musician.  When a dashing young American arrives on the scene she is instantly smitten.

Kate has always been opposed to marriage, although she and her partner are raising their daughter, Ava, together. She has been put in charge of her cousin's wedding rings as he and his partner plan to wed now that gay marriage is legal.

I appreciated all the characters that were created by Sullivan and their unique stories.  The synopsis I have given for each is a simplistic account of a well developed story - of characters, time period and place that allowed me to feel as though I was truly in the place and time Sullivan was writing about.

Sullivan ties in Gerety and her role in creating diamonds as a lasting symbol of love seamlessly. 

This entire novel was a joy to read- a perfect summer beach novel.  Sullivan is fast becoming one of my go-to authors.

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