The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an interesting narrative because it has a lot of moving pieces. It starts by chronicling how the diamond became the hallmark of the marriage/relationship market. Thanks to clever marketing campaigns by the De Beers family, the diamond has become the "go-to" stone for engagement rings and become status symbols for relationships here in America. Throughout the narrative, we return to the story of Frances Gerety, the copy editor in charge of the De Beers account, and follow the diamond's evolution from the 1940's through the 2000's.
Against this backdrop, we follow five love stories from different time periods. We meet Evelyn, who has been married to her husband for forty years. Delphine, who marries for companionship only to be swept up into an affair that doesn't last. There's James, a paramedic who works the night shift, who feels constant pressure knowing his wife’s family thinks she could have done better. Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, who doesn't plan to ever marry and is helping with her gay friends' wedding. All of these stories explore marriage and the role of the diamond through different lens and decades.
What I found to be most creative is how Sullivan brought all of these seemingly divergent stories that are so different and take place during different time periods all together. For me, it was not immediately obvious what was going to be the connecting thread, but I was quite impressed when it finally came out. It was quite creative storytelling.
The audiobook was a long one to listen to, as the print book is over 400 pages, but I did not find it hard to sustain my attention throughout the listening experience. I would definitely recommend checking this novel out.
2016 Reading Challenge: A book with a blue cover
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