H: Seating Arrangements – Review

I stumbled across Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead when browsing through book reviews. She just released Astonish Me to rave reviews but most critics had more praise for her debut novel, Seating Arrangements.

Set on the Connecticut island of Waskeke, Winn Van Meter has convinced himself he is a WASP, and does everything he can to be seen by others as one. His eldest daughter, Daphne, is getting married at their island home and the entire bridal party is staying with them, including Winn’s youngest daughter, Livia. Winn is constantly trying to prove himself and be what he believes a WASP should be, in clubs, have sons, an island house, old money, and of course, a disposable relationship with women. He is often brought back to reality by Livia (grieving a harsh breakup) and his brash sister-in-law, Celeste (grieving an empty cocktail glass).

Winn was, to me, a genuinely despicable character in an otherwise enjoyable book. I’ll admit, it was a page turner (and relatively short compared to my other recent reads) and I loved how seamlessly the author transitioned to other characters point of view.

Favorite Characters: Celeste, Daphne
Favorite Quotes:
“The bottom line is you don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t love you.” -Biddy Van Meter
“The Duffs went together like two shades of beige.” -Livia

Bottom line: I found the book enjoyable, especially for a quick summer or beach read. The ending was a bit abrupt, but I don’t seem to have a problem with that because I see no alternative.

Until next time, happy reading!
-H

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