I have a fairly unsurprising confession to make: I didn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. I wasn’t remotely interested.
It’s not that I can’t stand a little eroticism in my fiction. I just ask a little more of my books. I love fluff as much as the next gal, but if it’s not good enough I just can’t surrender my imagination.
I like books that keep me on my toes, that throw twists and turns at me, that uncover layers of complex characters. The Engagement met all those criteria.
It follows Liese who’s a little lost in her life. She gets involved with Alexander in one of those stupid situations where you really know better but you do it anyway. And the chemistry keeps you coming back even when you know it’s stupid and possibly wrong. If you haven’t done it, you’ve probably wanted to do it. And if you’re lucky, you don’t end up in the kind of crazy situation that Liese does.
Sure, it started as a little thing. But then somehow Liese finds herself agreeing to more than the usual tryst. She goes with Alexander to his house in the country. Just the two of them. In the middle of nowhere.
And things start to get… weird.
This is not a book for a fun, escape read. This book is designed to keep you feeling unsure and disoriented and confused just like Liese does. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it book. Either you go for it and commit or you’re going to be floundering relatively quickly. (This is exactly what happened when we reviewed this book at Red Letter Reads. 3 Loves, 1 Hate.)
This book reminded me of one of my favorite novels of all time, The Magus, by John Fowles. Erotic undertones, unforeseen plot twists, really weird stuff happening, people who aren’t what they seem. And this one won’t take you a whole week to read. The Engagement is a lean, mean book and you can probably race through this baby pretty darn fast.
And can I just say that I found Hooper’s prose strong and impressive. It wasn’t just a thrill-ride, the journey was just as nice as getting to the destination.
Thanks to Scribner for providing me with an advanced e-galley of this book.