The Engagements was a book that I picked up, looking for a quick chick lit escape this summer. What happened instead, was a book that has stuck with me since I put it down and surprised me with its depth and beauty. It was the kind of book that I couldn’t wait for someone else to read and the one that I drove my husband crazy sharing about in the evenings because of the smartly woven plot twists.
Each chapter alternates stories with each story deeply rooted in the engagement ring from the inception of the idea of selling the idea of an engagement ring to women to what this ring signifies to each character in the book.
The stories unfold beginning with Frances Gerety, an advertising copyright who works on the De Beers account and who is the creator of the, “A Diamond is Forever,” campaign that De Beers is still known for today. She is the one who changes what the diamond ring means to women and, yet, receives very little recognition for her efforts in her career. Fans of Mad Men, in particular, will fall in love with Frances and her struggles to get to the top of her ad agency, much like the beloved Peggy Olson in our favorite television series.
All of the other chapters weave in stories from different decades of what the diamond ring means to the other characters in the book. Evelyn has been married to her husband for 40 years, ever since her husband slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both the beauty and the awfulness in relationships and finds herself in a love triangle she never expected. James is a paramedic whose constant struggle to prove to his family and wife that he is good enough when he feels in his heart he is not, and the story of Kate who has been with her partner for a decade, but refuses to be married because of her feminist beliefs.
The novel spans nearly a hundred years with these stories and, perhaps, the most surprising thing for me was how utterly enchanted I was with every single story and character. I am guilty of favoring certain characters more than others, yet with this book, every story and every chapter was so great that I enjoyed all of them equally.
Don’t let the slow start on this book discourage you- I promise that it will be worth it to see this one through to the end! This is my favorite book by J. Courtney Sullivan yet and I have a feeling it will be for you too!
MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars
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