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.
As I read each of the vignettes that seemingly had nothing in common with each other, especially since we skipped ahead years to focus on the characters in each of the spotlighted times, this tale felt a little like a collection of short stories. The common element: diamonds. And specifically, engagement rings.
Some of the characters and their lives were more enjoyable than others….and at times, I was weary of trying to remember the characters from the previous stories about them. But gradually, as more details surfaced with each leap in time, and as more backstory was revealed, I started to feel connected to them.
In the end, many loose ends seemingly converged to reveal the mysterious connections between them all. The Engagements is an intriguing story that I would have enjoyed more if it hadn’t “sprawled” quite so much. Nevertheless, a book I’d recommend to Sullivan fans…and those who like to think of how much “serendipity” plays a role in our lives. 3.5 stars.