Book Review and Giveaway: THE ENGAGEMENTS

“Frances closed her eyes for a moment. She should sleep some, or else she’d look a fright at the morning meeting. But what about the signature line? She arranged a handful of magazines in the shape of a fan on the floor, all open to her ads. 

In Vogue: Your diamonds glow with loveliness at every wearing. Theirs is a timeless charm transcending every change in fashion.

In Collier’s: Wear your diamonds as the night wears its stars, ever and always…for their beauty is as timeless.

In Life: In the engagement diamond on her finger, the memories will shine forever.

She had clearly long been surfeited by this idea of permanence. She closed her eyes and said, “Dear God, send me a line.”

Frances scribbled something on a scrap of paper, taking it to bed with her and placing it on the nightstand. She lay down fully dressed without getting under the covers, and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.”

From the Publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Commencement and Maine comes a gorgeous, sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.

Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.

A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America, and the way—for better or for worse—these glittering stones have come to symbolize our deepest hopes for everlasting love.

My Recommendation:

I became acquainted with J. Courtney Sullivan’s work through Maine, a novel about a dysfunctional, Irish, Catholic family whose matriarch is nearing death and wishes to sell the family seaside property. Foremost, I enjoyed Sullivan’s rich and layered characterization, and because of my appreciation of her writing style, and the multi-period plot, I was eager to read her new novel, The Engagements.

As a writer and a reader, I am drawn to fiction that explores the connection between places and times, and Sullivan’s use of the diamond advertising campaign that continues to influence world nuptial culture to unite the stories is brilliant. Sullivan also captures the controversies and current events of each decade, and presents all of her characters as flawed, authentic representations that seem real enough to step off the pages.

Fans of J. Courtney Sullivan’s earlier novels, and readers of family drama and period novels will find much to enjoy on the pages of The Engagements. In addition to its fascinating coverage of the history of diamonds as the symbol of marriage in many parts of the world, the novel is a moving portrait of real people doing the best they can in love and in life.

I had the pleasure of attending J. Courtney Sullivan’s reading in Washington DC last week, and I have one signed copy of the novel to give away. To enter, please leave a comment below about your favorite Sullivan novel (or which you most wish to read), and spread the word on social media. A random winner will be selected on Thursday, July 25th.


24 thoughts on “Book Review and Giveaway: THE ENGAGEMENTS

  1. Anne says:

    I also really enjoyed this book! I would love to have a signed copy for my bookshelves.

  2. girlluck13 says:

    I have not read any of her books yet but I have heard a lot of amazing things about The Engagements that I am dying to read it.

  3. Elizabeth Bevins says:

    I would love to read The Engagements. I enjoy layered stories like this where you see the actions and effects from several viewpoints.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  4. I read Maine when I was visiting my family in Tennessee 🙂 I was often swept away by the lovely descriptions and layered characterization I stared at the Tennessee mountains and believed I was at the rocky shore of Maine.
    During that week, I became a fan of her writing and put The Engagements on my TBR list!

  5. Great review, Erika. I’ve heard terrific things about The Engagements. Look forward to reading it.

  6. erikarobuck says:

    Great comments! Best wishes to you all in the giveaway.

  7. Heather S says:

    I loved Maine! I’m itching to read this one! So hoping to win and read this! Cheers! 🙂

  8. Emily RV says:

    Planning a marathon-esque reading schedule for MAINE and THE ENGAGEMENTS. Looking forward to it.

  9. Christina says:

    I have heard such awesome things about The Engagements and I also want to read Maine. I am a huge fan of family drama, so I think The Engagements is my type of read! Thanks for this great giveaway!

  10. Sally says:

    I loved Courtney’s first two books — Maine was my favorite, I thought Alice’s sections were so well-researched and I love how she brought four distinct voices to life. I would love to chance to read The Engagements! I am hearing that this is her best one yet! Thanks for the chance to win Erika 🙂

  11. Karen W says:

    Loved Maine and cannot wait to read The Engagements!

  12. Amanda says:

    Maine made me wish my family was more interesting…and had a beach house on the East Coast!

  13. Bonnie K. says:

    I’ve read Maine and really enjoyed it;so, I look forward to reading her other books.

  14. Tina Brannan says:

    Great review! I haven’t read any of her books…yet! My reading list is 10 miles long! Ha! I’d love to win a copy of The Engagements!

  15. Janine says:

    I saw someone post about this book months ago and it is one I really want to read. I just wish my budget allowed for extras like this. It looks like one I will really be hooked on. I shared on Facebook and Twitter and added to my Goodreads list.

  16. Crystal says:

    I can’t wait to read Maine. I just bought it and it’s next in line for summer reading! I’ve read wonderful reviews of the Engagements as well. Would love to win a copy!!

  17. erikarobuck says:

    I love all of your comments, and wish you luck in the giveaway! The Engagements is a must read.

  18. Jessica DeLeon says:

    I loved “Maine.” Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. griperang says:

    This book was recommended to me by the boss’s daughter. It looks like a good on. Thank you for the chance to win it. griperang at embarqmail dot com

  20. Bridget O says:

    I loved Maine! She’s a great writer, can’t wait to read The Engagements!

  21. girlfromwva says:

    THE ENGAGEMENTS sounds like a great read; definitely on my must read list! adding to my shelf on GOODREADS!

  22. I really want to read THE ENGAGEMENTS,

  23. Eline says:

    Looks like a wonderful read! I’ll put in on my to read list 😉 The book I wanted to read was commencement. I saw it one day on Goodreads and thought it looked great. The engagement looks even more fun to read! Good luck to the author and btw: like the blow a lot 😉 following now!

  24. erikarobuck says:

    HEATHER S. you are the winner of THE ENGAGEMENTS!! Thanks so much for all of your comments and shares!

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