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Sleeping Arrangements    by Madeleine Wickham order for
Sleeping Arrangements
by Madeleine Wickham
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Sleeping Arrangements is a funny, heartwarming story of two families forced to spend their vacation together after their mutual friend, Gerald, booked them for the same week in his villa in Spain. With all the local hotels occupied, they decide to make the best of it and share the villa.

Chloe Harding is looking forward to the rest and relaxation. She owns her own business, designing and sewing wedding gowns. Her partner Philip cannot relax. He is a bank manager and has found out there is going to be a merger with another company and his branch could be closing. They pack up their two sons and fly to Spain for a glorious week away from it all. After getting lost, they reach the villa and are surprised to find another family already settled in. Chloe is shocked when she sees the man talking to Philip.

Hugh Stratton, his wife Amanda, and their two young daughters plus their nanny are looking forward to their stay in the villa. Hugh is obsessed with his job, while Amanda is dominating and stressed out about the renovations to their home. They need quality time together as a family. After the two couples discuss the situation and decide to remain at the villa, Chloe and Hugh try to stay out of each other's way. They have a history together and neither one wants to tell their partners. Chloe was madly in love with Hugh until he walked out on her and her eight month old son. Now they have been thrown together and wonder what the week will bring.

Hugh apologizes to Chloe using his young age and inexperience as an excuse for his behaviour but she doesn't let him off the hook so easily. As the days go by and they spend time together Chloe feels the old connection to the man she once knew. Hugh is funny and easy going while Philip worries and stresses over everything. Chloe actually entertains thoughts of leaving her old life behind and starting over with Hugh. After a phone call from Gerald they begin to wonder if he had ulterior motives to get them all together at the villa. Philip accidentally learns of Hugh's connection to his bank and before long tensions mount and the couples are fighting with each other. Everyone must now re-think their priorities and make decisions that affect others.

Sleeping Arrangements is filled with larger than life characters looking for happiness. Wickham also writes as Sophie Kinsella.

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