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A People Magazine Top 10 Best Book of the Year
From the New York Times best-selling 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.
About the Author
J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Commencement and Maine. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and New York magazine, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise for The Engagements…
“Sullivan is a born storyteller. Like its mineral muse, Engagements shines.”
“The Engagements is a delightful marriage of cultural research and literary entertainment.”
—The Washington Post
“Sullivan takes the cake when it comes to tying the knot. . . . A generously populated, multi-generational tale.”
—The Chicago Tribune, Editor’s Choice
“Any one of the five stories of The Engagements could have been a novel in itself. Taken together, though, they rather brilliantly represent different facets of marriage…. Captivating.”
—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“This is one smart summer read.”
“Well-crafted. . . . Sullivan’s admiration and affection for Gerety, and sensitivity to the challenges she faced, make for entertaining and touching passages.”
“The Engagements is a rollicking, entertaining read and a thought-provoking one too.”
—The Huffington Post
“A fun look at diamond advertising and the people who do—and do not—buy into the hype.”
“Dazzling. . . . An exhilarating, compulsive read. Sullivan fully inhabits her characters, whether she’s writing about a blue-collar Massachusetts emergency worker or a patrician elderly woman.”
“A seamless tapestry . . . Sullivan is a keen observer of people and how they morph over time, either being softened by the years or made more brittle by strife.”
“Satisfying. . . . At each stage of the game, the engagement ring has a different meaning.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Sullivan has written an intricate, beautifully timed novel, so delicious in its gradual unfolding that readers will want to reread it immediately to enjoy the fully realized ties.”
“An honest interpretation of the American marriage along with the true story of how the diamond ring has become so deeply integrated into society.”
—The Tampa Bay Times
“[Sullivan] threads her story with the glitter of diamonds. . . . A tale that sweeps across varied emotional landscapes.”
“An entertaining read of emotional maturity.”
—The Guardian (London)
“Sullivan pulls off the difficult task of creating distinctive voices for characters spread across the past sixty years.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A modern update of The Spoils of Poynton; elegant, assured, often moving and with a gentle moral lesson to boot.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“At the heart of each episode lies that sparkly symbol of romantic commitments . . . given a sharp and crystalline coherence by virtue of Sullivan’s sometimes bold, sometimes nuanced improvisation on the resonance of the diamond engagement ring.”