by Madeleine Wickham

July 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-38342-8
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press

Chloe and Phil are in dire need of a vacation. She is a wedding dress maker and he works in a bank which is rumored to be marked for being closed down. They have lived together for years but have never married. Chloe has a son born before she met Phil and they have a son together. Their lives are in a rut. When a friend offers his villa in Spain, Chloe jumps at the opportunity.

Hugh and Amanda live separately together. They are married with two daughters and yet neither seem aware of what the other’s life is really like. Amanda’s outlet is a never ending refurbishment of their home. Hugh is a workaholic. He accepts an offer of a villa in Spain in hopes it will breathe new life into his marriage.

Imagine the surprise when two different families realize they have been double booked in a foreign country. Other than packing up and heading back to England there is nothing to do but try to make the most of it. Tension is so thick it can be cut with a knife. Chloe and Hugh have a history. Being thrown together during this vulnerable time in their lives is the worst thing that can happen. Or is it? Just when they are questioning their future, Chloe and Hugh are faced with the burden of their past. Is it closure they want or is it a second chance?

I have to admit when I picked up this book I was expecting a lighthearted read. The cover helped promote this belief. Two families thrown together in what seemed to be an accidental double booking on the part of the owner had funny written all over it. I’ve watched comedies with this same premise. A few paragraphs into Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham aka Sophie Kinsella and I knew this was no comedy of errors. Not even close. There’s really not much to like about the characters in this story of manipulation and deceit. I didn’t notice any character growth in the end, merely a resigned acceptance of the choices they’d made. All in all it was a bit of disheartening read.

Reviewed in September 2008 by Rho.

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