In desperate need of a holiday, Chloe needs a holiday takes her wealthy friend Gerard up on his offer of the loan of his luxury villa in Spain. Hugh has no time for his children and he’s too busy working to pay for his wife’s new kitchen that he feels there is nothing he can do about it. Until that is his old friend Gerard lends him his luxury villa in Spain. Both families arrive at the villa and realize the awful truth — Gerard has double-booked. What no one else realizes is that Chloe and Hugh have a history; and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all.
Though it sounds odd, Madeleine Wickham is not Sophie Kinsella. They may be the same person, but their writing styles and the quality of their books are not on the same level. Had Sleeping Arrangements been written before the publication of Kinsella’s books I would have understand the need to publish under a pseudonym, but it wasn’t. In fact, Wickham’s novel was published just last year.
That said, I actually kind of liked the beginning of this novel, although it was a bit of a cliche, and the build-up towards the relationship between Chloe and Hugh. I thought the two had potential, and you could feel the sexual tension between them. And then the train derailed — figuratively, not literally. The ending — really the last half of book — was just awful. I don’t know how it could possibly be considered the best conclusion for these two or for their families, and it was borderline unrealistic. The story as a whole is completely dry. Wickham attempts to be serious, but it falls flat. I think I’ll be sticking with the wacky, humorous books Wickham creates under Kinsella. They’re certainly much more fun.
- Wickham, Madeleine. Sleeping Arrangements. New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print. 204 pgs. ISBN: 9780312383428. Source: Library.