Book Review: The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
Natalie is a 21 year old student who has moved from her predicable life in her hometown of Blaine, Washington, to attend the Visual Arts College in New York. She is glad to be away from home, her creepy high school ex-boyfriend, and her mom and step-dad, looking forward to the independent opportunities New York has to offer.
However, Natalie struggles to pay her bills and has incurred the wrath of her roommates with her party life and frequent drunken state that leaves her teetering on the edge of eviction.
And then she meets Ava, a fellow art student who appears to be the exact opposite of Nat. Impeccable hair, nails, confidence and a shiny apartment she has all to herself, Ava offers Nat an opportunity to escape her current troubles by suggesting she go online to find herself a sugar daddy. Despite Ava’s assurances that the sugar relationships are arranged by mutual consent, Nat remains skeptical, until she loses her job and moves closer to being without a home.
Nat joins the sugar bowl forum and makes a date with Gabe, an older, handsome, attorney and they quickly come to an arrangement that benefits both of them. However, despite Ava’s warnings about the rules of sugar dating, Nat finds herself falling in love with Gabe, convincing herself Gabe feels the same way, which is not part of the deal.
Suddenly, Gabe ends the relationship, sending Nat into a downward spiral of drinking and denial, leading her to stalk Gabe, befriend his daughter and spy on his wife for answers to his abrupt ending of the arrangement. Gabe doesn’t take kindly to Nat’s obsession and things get ugly and someone ends up dead.
This book sheds some light on the world of sugar daddies and sugar babies, without judging and offers back stories to both partners in the arrangement. Thrown into the plot are some edgy, thriller pieces that are for the most part unpredictable and I found this to be an intense page turning journey right to the end.
Helen Varga is a Library Technician at the Steveston Branch of Richmond Public Library.