You know that feeling when you find a book that satisfies some if your most specific plot desires in a book? I’ve been searching for quite some time for a book that has the following features:
- a couple dealing with the arranged marriage scenario years after they married
- and, understandably, some well-written angst because it’s kind of unavoidable right?
- and because I apparently love me some angst, bonus points for either one of the married people realizing that they want a divorce or one of them fell in love with the other unsuspectingly
- I’m realizing this now, but I want a book with this plot to not be too over the top y’know? I’ll take a marriage merger over say fictional royalties marrying women because they got them pregnant etc etc. It sounds very contrary but I guess I like my angst to be more personal rather than situational? Does that even make sense?
Now you might think that books with these are probably common. And they probably are. It’s just that I tend to be more particular about what kind of story I want to read. I suppose it’s kind of hard to explain, but this is my particular catnip and I am very happy to have found High Society Wife by Helen Bianchin because at least it kind of answered my desire for a certain kind of book.
It’s a story of how things are going in an arranged marriage due to business reasons a year later. This year, in particular, is tough for Gianna, our heroine, because not only isn’t she pregnant yet, but a former lover of her husband, Franco, is newly divorced and has set her sights on Franco. All of that plus the uncertainty of realizing that she’ll have to accept that she’s in a comforting but not loving relationship.
It’s funny because one of the words I immediately thought of to describe this book was mellow. Which is strange for a book with a plot like this, but I guess that’s one of the reasons I liked it a lot. It had all the requirements of a book I wanted to read, but it was also written in a way that I found to be easy to read when you’re dead tired before bed. And I thought it was also a funny descriptor because they’re depicted to be having sex almost every day basically. The sex scenes are mild to suggestive, but definitely not graphic and if that’s more your style, this one’s a good one to try.
Gianna’s perspective is dominant and I thought she was easy to relate to and, for a book in the Presents line, I she was very reasonable? Her main issue is this uncertainty in her marriage so it’s completely understandable for her to feel things like jealousy and even inadequacy but she didn’t need Franco’s approval or anything. I guess what I’m trying to say is that she was very confident and sure of herself but due to her ongoing conflict, she’s having doubts about all the things and it’s affecting her outlook. And I liked that a lot.
However, I feel like we could’ve benefited from having more of Franco’s perspective. I’m finding it hard to believe that he loves her y’know? He was just all kind of “you silly person, why’d you think I married you.” And I guess that felt… meh? We are shown that he’s this caring husband, and y’know, he did come across as an attentive husband. But I guess as with most things with The High-Society Wife, his emotions, while probably deep, are more subtle? I mean there’s nothing wrong with that, I just wish there was more indication or kind of signs that he does love Gianna and that he loved her before he married her. We were just kind of told.
One more quip is that the author tends to go on describing some things that I thought weren’t really necessary. I’m noticing this trend now because I’m reading another of her books.
Overall though, while I am ending this review with a 3.5/5 rating, I really did enjoy The High-Society Wife. In fact, I should probably make a folder on Scribd for books I constantly reread because this is going to be included on that list.