I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I thought it would have more art heist vibes, but then I saw it classified as a romance. My expectations were all over the place.
Despite this, or maybe because of this, Rules of Arrangement was a lot of fun. The story was so creative, so unlike any other romance I’ve read before. Adelaide Wright is a college senior who sells papers to her peers to get by. Declan, a childhood more-than-friend turned TA finds out and uses this fact to blackmail her into helping him get his art back from Jack Nolan, the art dealer who stole it.
When we first met Jack, I couldn’t help but picture him like Frank Lundy (my roommate and I have been binge-watching Dexter this week), a 60 year old man. I had to keep reminding myself he’s only 38. When I recalibrated my brain to picture Jack as my attractive next-door neighbor, I was able to enjoy the story much more.
On a serious note, Addie and Jack’s relationship was so compelling. I finished this book in two sittings (I had to take a break for sleep and work, unfortunately). While Jack annoyed me at times with his demands and I was a little uncomfortable with the age dynamic, the tender moments between him and Addie were perfect. Not to mention, those sex scenes were ****ing hot.
Mackenzie’s depiction of grief and Addie’s family dynamic were also realistic. It had been three years since her parents’ deaths, and I really felt the grief that came through on certain occasions such as holidays or when talking about her childhood.
I do feel like Addie’s friends, Imogen and Katy, got the short end of the stick. There really wasn’t any great resolution between the friend group in the end. It seems like Addie just kinda forgets about them in favor of her family and Jack.
However, I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. I’ll be interested to see what Maren Mackenzie will publish in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.