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Publisher's Summary

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 40 years - 40 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 100 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.

©2013 J. Courtney Sullivan (P)2013 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Engagements

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    56
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  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    6

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This story required some brain exercise.

Any additional comments?

Maybe it was the fact that this was an auditory mode of reading the story, but I found it difficult to keep the stories straight while driving. I listened to this book on a long road trip, and I sometimes had difficulty transitioning between all 4 stories and remembering what had occurred in a particular story line earlier in the book. In the end, though, it wrapped up nicely. Maybe I could follow it better in cinema as I could attach a character's face to their story.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not great

I struggled to stay with this book. The audio version had some terrible accents that were hard to ignore.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Needs a Full Cast Production

Would you listen to The Engagements again? Why?

This book is really difficult to rate with solid stars. I think it was a really solid 3.5 star rating.

The story of Francis and the DER was engaging, and if historically accurate, wonderful. The other stories were engaging and tied together really well (same DER).

I liked the characters, but struggled a bit in the beginning to tell them apart (audiobook). Overall, I WOULD recommend this book to a girl who is excited about weddings and engagement. It is a generational piece about marriage and love. It focuses on the "scandals" of multiple time periods and income demographics. I think it could have gone into more detail; but overall, for a quick read it was very enjoyable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Francis. She's wonderful, empowering, and dynamic.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I actually enjoyed breaking between persons to keep them straight.

Any additional comments?

Should use different voices for each character to assist with distinction.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bit confusing to follow on audio

I felt it was a bit hard to follow on the audio version it may be easier with defined chapters you can read into. I also didn't like that the author could not pronounce Dorchester ( a boston neighborhood) and that her Boston accent was not Boston at all and more like the Kennedy accent and Maine accent mixed together. It was strange and annoying a bit. I'm from Boston and don't have the accent but know it well from my mother, family, friends, neighbors, etc.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Nothing Truly Sparkles Here

This book was too wordy and complicated. The best part was learning about Mary Frances Gerety and how she came up with the slogan, "A Diamond is Forever". The various characters and their assorted lives and problems did come together a bit in the end, but they were tied together so loosely that I was hoping the author would have wound the story tighter instead of leaving the readers with quite a large leap of faith.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An ok showing from an author I like.

I read J. Courtney Sullivan’s “Saints for All Occasions” and loved it. I would recommend that book over this one. The story lines in this one are a little all over the place, making it somewhat hard to follow. Some characters are endearing and you want to keep following them. Others are self-righteous and annoying making those parts of the book unappealing. I’ll give one of her other books a try.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Read Saints for All Occasions instead

Saints for All Occasions is Sullivan’s most recent book (quite good), and the growth she made as a writer between that book and this book was substantial. Everything that worked in Saints, didn’t work here. It’s the same structure jumping back and forth to seemingly random points in time and into the lives of various characters.

The problem with this book is the characters aren’t connected to each other until the very end. And unlike with Saints, I really didn’t like any of the characters in this novel except Frances from whom we get all the interesting back story about diamonds and the advertising business.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too long and drawn out

This book could easily have been 1/2 as long and nothing would have been lost in translation. I kept waiting for all the verbiage to MEAN something....and most of the time it never did. It's a long time to listen to a book just to have a "meh" reaction at the end. I purchased this based on a strong recommendation from People Magazine, but I can't understand why.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The perfect vacation book

Disparate stories of seemingly unconnected lives are slowly revealed over the course of this meaty novel. The characters and situations span many decades and a couple of continents but the highly skilled reader makes it easy to enjoy and retain them all. It didn't really matter to me how it all tied up in the end; the pleasure is in the journey and I enjoyed it all the way through.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Diamond History...in a novel

What did you love best about The Engagements?

The history of establishing the DER ( diamond engagement ring) .

What did you like best about this story?

The development and impact of the DER and marriage in general

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The desperation of the EMT to get his partner a diamond when she really DID NOT WANT IT.

1 person found this helpful