“Welcome to the sugar bowl.”
While this might sound like a sweet-tooth’s dream, it’s actually something quite different. In Robyn Harding’s newest domestic thriller, The Arrangement, readers meet Natalie and Gabe, a couple involved in a sugar-baby/sugar-daddy relationship.
I knew I wanted to read The Arrangement as soon as I saw it because I’m a big fan of Robyn Harding’s writing. Last year she released Her Pretty Face, which I devoured in two sittings. When I found out the synopsis for her newest book, I was even more excited.
I remember reading an article a few years ago about university students using websites to find sugar daddies in order to help make ends meet. I knew this was something that people did, but was surprised to learn that the University of Waterloo (one of two universities in the city where I live) had one of the highest volumes of users in all of Canada. But on second thought, it wasn’t really that surprising. Being a student is hard: you have the stress of school, working to pay tuition, rent, and feeding yourself, and sometimes, you just need to do whatever you can to survive. Who am I to judge someone for making that decision?
The premise of this book pulled me in, and once I started reading, I was completely hooked. The first chapter is set in a police station, where someone admits to murder. Then, you’re taken back in time, and are introduced to the main character.
Natalie is a twenty-something in art school, and after losing her job and being kicked out of her apartment, she needs to make money, fast. One of her friends introduces her to the world of sugar relationships, and before she knows it, she’s head-over-heels in love with her sugar daddy, Gabe.
Of course, Gabe isn’t everything he says he is. Sure, he’s a successful lawyer who is incredibly charming and handsome, but nothing is ever as good as it seems. He has his own secrets, and as things begin to unravel, Natalie finds herself wrapped up in everything, fighting for what she believes she deserves.
The plot of this book was fast-paced and full of drama. It’s also set in New York City and at times felt like watching an episode of Gossip Girl. You have high-society characters interacting with young adults, emotions are running high, and people are desperate. It was like watching reality television, but better, because it was a book written by one of my favourite authors.
Of course, there are twists and turns, plenty of red herrings, and an ending that will leave you reeling. Plus, the overall theme of the book—sugar relationships—will undoubtedly provoke some thinking, and likely make for a good discussion if you read The Arrangement for a book club.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have been recommending it to friends since I finished it. I’ve never been let down by one of Robyn Harding’s books, and can’t wait to see what she does next.
The Arrangement will be available on July 30, 2019, and can be bought wherever books are sold. Thank you to the publisher for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley.