Book Review: Seating Arrangements

June 21, 2012 book review 0

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday

Published date: June 12, 2012

320 Pages

Source: E-galley from Edelweiss

A debut novel set in East Coast upper class society.  The people of old money, or old connections, and the lines sometimes get crossed.  Winn Van Meter is the head of his family, married to Biddy, father to Daphne and Livia, and about to marry off his oldest, who happens to be seven months pregnant.  They are staying at the family island retreat, an area reminiscent of Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard in status and culture.   Daphne is marrying Greyson, another privileged youth.  As he and his family are welcomed by the Van Meter’s to the ritual wedding weekend festivities the misbehavior begins.  Flirting and innuendo reign supreme as the fun begins.

This fun look into the wealthy and well bred lives of one family takes place over a long weekend, but snipits of history added in to give the real history and back stories of the characters.  The book takes a look back at several character’s lives but there is more focus on Winn and younger daughter Livia.  Winn is a narcissistic middle aged man, he thrives on the clubs he is has been granted membership.  He is proud, and yet a bit sad.  Dear Livia has been unlucky in love, and there is some concern she is still pining for a former beau, and yet she’s going after Greyson’s groomsmen starting with his brother!

I started this book because it’s a Barnes & Noble recommends read.  I liked the premise and the setting.  I’ve always been curious about the lives of families with old money.  This story started out really well, drawing me in, wanting to know more.  It took some odd turns but in the end redeemed itself and brought it all to a great close.  Not a neat tidy package, but a pleasure still.

I’ve given this book a 3 out of 5 stars, I liked it.  I think it’s a good summer read, beaches, weddings, family, some indiscretions, what’s not to like.

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