Read A Perfect Arrangement by Suzanne Berne Online


Handsome and ambitious, Mirella and Howard Cook-Goldman have it all-two precious children, dual careers, a great old colonial house on Massachusetts's North Shore, a golden retriever. The only thing they lack is reliable child care. Enter Randi Gill, sent by Family Options, Ltd., an agency specializing in Midwestern girls with teaching aspirations ("Could you be ComfortablHandsome and ambitious, Mirella and Howard Cook-Goldman have it all-two precious children, dual careers, a great old colonial house on Massachusetts's North Shore, a golden retriever. The only thing they lack is reliable child care. Enter Randi Gill, sent by Family Options, Ltd., an agency specializing in Midwestern girls with teaching aspirations ("Could you be Comfortable with Anything but the Best for Your Family?. . . Guaranteed Nationwide FBI Criminal Fingerprinting and Background Checks."). Randi's references are perfect. She's perfect. She cleans, cooks, sews, and makes her own Play-Doh. The children love her . . . almost too much.Though it's hard for Mirella to watch Randi succeed with the children where she has failed, she can't deny the peace and order Randi has brought to the household. But perfection is a tough act to maintain, and soon enough, there are ruptures. When events force Mirella and Howard to reveal the secrets they've been hiding from each other, the family cataclysm catapults the nanny (who has secrets of her own) into a position of unnatural control.In A Perfect Arrangement, Suzanne Berne now fixes her sights on contemporary, two-career family life. Overscheduled and overwhelmed, today's parents are desperate for help. Whatever child care they manage to set up, the arrangements are rarely perfect. This suspenseful novel asks a question all of them face: "Is there anyone you can trust with your children?"...

Title : A Perfect Arrangement
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781565122611
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 301 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Perfect Arrangement Reviews

  • Jenny Karraker
    2019-03-26 05:54

    I saw this on someone's list and decided to read it. I found it very slow and not very interesting. Author explores the life of a wealthy Bostonian couple who struggle with the challenges of juggling 2 careers with raising children plus trying to keep their marriage intact. The nanny seems like a God send, but you know something isn't quite right about the while thing. Wanting closure, I skimmed through the book to found out what happens at the end. I don't think I'll read anything else by this author.

  • Katie Kenig
    2019-04-13 05:55

    The last approximately ten percent of this book left me stunned and feeling more than a little unsettled.It may have been my own history working as a nanny in my early twenties that made the character of Randi, the nanny in this novel, more compelling to me than the driven career-woman mother. Perhaps it was that I feel more of a connection to stay-at-home mothers and the mother in this novel treated them a little bit disdainfully that made me more on the nanny's "side". Whatever it was, I wasn't expecting my feelings to be so upended.Primarily, this is a story about possessiveness and emotion. Who has the "right" to love who, or what, in our world? Who really "owns" children, land, clean air, free time, affection? Where do the boundaries lie between who is allowed to be family and who is not?Touching. I'm glad this one made it to my bookshelf.

  • L.N. Cronk
    2019-04-04 02:48

    The description labels this book as "suspenseful", which is why I gave it such a low rating. The only suspense was waiting for something exciting to happen. It was more of a character study and the "events" at the end were anti-climatic, in my opinion. Nothing shocking, nothing surprising, nothing really original. If the book's description had not led me to believe the book was going to be exciting, I would have given it a higher rating.

  • Beth Farnsworth
    2019-04-01 02:10

    What was the purpose of this book? Waste of my time.

  • Joe
    2019-04-06 04:06

    Not sure why this book was written

  • Frances
    2019-04-18 05:07

    This book seemed to have great promise, but ran out of steam towards the end. The nanny, Randi, was built up to be a potential psychopath, but eventually appeared to be much more of a victim. The stresses of working parents coping with a child with severe autism were explored, but could have been much more fully developed by the author.

  • Chris Mara
    2019-03-26 03:54

    Randi, is hired as a nanny to a double income couple (Howard and Mirabella) with two children, Pearl and Jacob. It comes as no surprise that the household and the marriage continue to deteriorate from the get go. These kids, this house, this life, they think, it all demands so much of them. The sacrifices they make. The morning chaos of getting everyone fed and dressed and cleaned up and out the door in time. Making sure everyone has their stuff and going over last minute updates for the day - plumber coming so be sure you’re home, dinner meeting next week can you cover for me... sort of thing. Mirabella does not handle this family chaos well; she can be short tempered and as obstinate as her daughter Pearl. Mirabella is an attorney and her mind is always racing with thoughts of work, thoughts of what she would like to take care of at home (but can’t) or promising her involvement for school/community and ends up forgetting things and coming up short. Her appearance is important as well as necessary focus in her job. Howard is more the patient laid back parent but this is all starting to get on his nerves more and more as he’s been relegated to step in and his work more often than hers takes a back seat (he is an architect). Thus, this is yet another attempt (after failed others) at securing a nanny. It is apparent their lifestyle requires two incomes and it is apparent they both do like their work - perhaps more than taking care of their children? It’s all just so exhausting trying to balance everything. Mirabella, as an attorney, is constantly strapped for time and attention and her long commute just adds to the problem. So Randi is interviewed and hired through an agency and in no time is running spectacular interference for the family. She manages to not only take care of the house, but the adults and the two children which I’m presuming Jacob has autistic tendencies though that diagnosis was never indicated. Pearl is a difficult child in and of herself with tendencies to worry herself sick about the weather which they lie to her about so she does not work herself up every day. I learned this is a very real psychological illness called astraphobia. Randi has developed a close connection with Jacob, and the mother begins to get jealous. Especially as the children start to prefer being with Randi over Mirabella. Randi employs the children to do crafts, she reads them books, they bake cookies, they play games, go for a walk, etc. she is not only the nanny but becomes much more, cook, cleaner, organizer, shopper, party planner, good neighbor, caregiver, etc. Not a bad deal and...she’s good at it! Everyone loves her. The kids really connect with her. So does Howard. She is the epitome of what they have all been missing. The calm in the chaos. The nurturer. The reader is given some clues at the start that something is amiss with Randi, so we wait to see what is going to be so horrible. Randi has not had a happy childhood and is happy to get away from her former life and land this job in a beautiful home with her own room with a lovely family. What I see (as no harm) is Randi wanting to recreate a happy loving home she never had, with things she never had or could afford, treating and working with the children as if they were her own. She enjoys doing these things, is very creative with good intentions. I’m still waiting for what’s so horrible...and guess what? I expected the absolute worst so was disappointed with what was so bad because it really wasn’t. There are some unexpected events during the story which are good, but when it came to the ending I was disappointed with that. It was rather innocuous in that “life goes on as before” especially after everything that occurred. Not sure that Howard and Mirabella actually learned life lessons from their own despicable behaviors. Sad to say, Randi was the victim in this story, if you ask my opinion.

  • Alan
    2019-03-28 01:02

    2006 notebook: controlled, polished writing. An unqualified nanny is appointed to a middle class American home (lawyer/designer). Deft account of their roles and affairs.

  • Lori
    2019-03-25 01:01

    Not suspenseful. The characters were bland and unlikeable. I think the author tried to eek out reader empathy but it fails. I skimmed the entire novel because I wanted to discover the disturbing event touted on the jacket. There was nothing disturbing or thrilling at all about this pedestrian tale of middle-class people who live a life of ingratitude and then screwing up what they have.

  • Tiffany Garcia
    2019-04-05 00:06

    This sounded like a really good book and how the nanny was going to be so bad, it was nothing like that. She just got attached to the autistic son and the mother couldn't handle it. Could have been great.

  • Aimee
    2019-03-31 06:08

    O.K. A little creepy and the family dynamic frusterated me.

  • Saya
    2019-03-30 06:03

    Shades of A.M Homes, always a good thing.

  • Jayne Charles
    2019-04-01 05:11

    The word that comes to mind in connection with this book is "muted". Given the set-up (stressed-out professional couple hire nanny with faked references who seems brilliant) most people would expect the story to go a particular - quite dramatic - way. It doesn't. It's rather more concerned with examining the relationship of the couple, and the relationship of the nanny with her estranged family. I realised close to the end that there wasn't going to be any drama and settled down to enjoy the descriptive stuff - and really this author is excellent at describing people (I loved the smug earth-mother neighbour for example). I shouldn't feel disappointed, but somehow I do.

  • Trudy
    2019-03-23 01:08

    Good book. Mystery with an edge to it. The suspense was built up gradually, but unfortunately the climax never happened. There weren't really any twists and turns.....just basically dark edgy character build up. It was however a good mystery in the sense that in the end there was a revelation of a sort and an unexpected ending. I enjoyed reading it because I love reading - but I won't be bragging about this book or insisting anyone read it.

  • Lesley
    2019-04-11 23:54

    I actually liked the character Randi and wanted more in her past! Otherwise I would have easily disliked this book but then Randi did something that kept me reading to see where the book goes.I will say that I automatically drop a point foe (view spoiler)[ a dog dies in the book (uhmm NO NO NO)(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  • Jude Hayland
    2019-03-29 04:52

    I loved this novel - entirely engaging and real characters, wonderful easy yet poignant, elegant writing. The last page I shall read and re-read constantly as it says so much so effortlessly.

  • Zelda Reben
    2019-04-22 06:44

    Couldn't finish this book. Got up to around half way and gave up. The writing was great, but the plot seemed very ... jumbled and not very interesting.

  • Ann
    2019-04-19 00:03

    Howard and Miranda are a two-income, two-kid family in a pretty New England town. He's an architect, about to land his first big independent project. She's a lawyer with an exhausting workload and an even more exhausting daily commute. Since the nanny left, their life is chaos. So when the employment agency sends them Randi (She cooks! She cleans! She crafts!), they can't believe their good luck. So Randi moves in. And things calm down...or do they? While peace and order may reign in the household, and while their autistic son Jacob may be making some progress, Howard and Miranda's marriage seems to be falling apart. He's had an affair that comes back to haunt him. She can't bring herself to tell her husband of her unplanned pregnancy. Gradually, through the use of Randi's voice, it becomes clear to the reader that Randi has lied about her past and that her devotion to the Goldman-Cook household hides a desperate need for a place to call home. A crescendo is skillfully built up : Howards moves out, Miranda loses an important case, their community votes down Howard's big project, Miranda is ordered to remain in bed... As I progressed through the book, I expected really bad things to start happening, I expected that Randi's psychopathology would at least push her to kidnap Jacob. But nothing of that nature really happened, despite Randi's increasing fantasizing about Jacob being her own child. In the end, Randi is dismissed after an episode that is as murky as the incident in the Marabar caves in "A Passage to India" - did Randi really try to breastfeed Jacob or was that Miranda's imagination? In the last chapter, Miranda and Howard pick up their lives again after her miscarriage.I rated this book three stars because I feel that the ambiguity in this book, probably intended by the author, did not work well. For instance, it is not clear that Randi consciously set out to alienate the children from their parents; she appeared to be simply a gifted "baby-whisperer". Is Miranda's sense of unease really a form of working mother guilt? Why does Howard's former fling suddenly reappear to wreck his professional life if it appears they had parted on good terms? That being said, the writing is elegant and the evocation of the cutesy New England town is right on target.

  • Lain
    2019-04-07 02:52

    The premise of this book had me from "go." A double-income-two-kid couple is in search of a new nanny, and Randi seems to be the answer to their prayers. But as she becomes more and more indispensable, the Cook-Goldman marriage begins to unravel at the edges. Is Randi a willing participant to the family's demise, or just an unwitting bystander? The larger story is about secrets and the things we know but don't admit, even to ourselves. I'm all for authors keeping a light touch, but seriously... this book had way too much subtext for me. I felt like there was so much going on under the surface that I was missing, and not enough action and explicaation on the page. I foun dmyself re-reading passages, wondering if I'd missed something (the scene at the fireworks was a great example of reader confusion). Great theme, easy to read, but I felt like I read a whole book without figuring out what was really going on.

  • Andrea MacPherson
    2019-04-17 00:06

    Another great book by Suzanne Berne. As with A Crime in the Neighbourhood, clear and empathetic characters, fluid prose. Where Crime used a more dramatic plot line, A Perfect Arrangement is much more subtle. This novel explores the demands of marriage, parenthood, worklife--the modern trifecta. Berne guides us through difficulties in the Goodman-Cook's marriage, brought to a head by the arrival of a new and secretive nanny, Randi.Really enjoyed the ease of the prose, the authentic drawing of the characters.

  • Gerry
    2019-04-21 02:08

    Mirella, a lawyer, and Howard, an architect, need a new sitter for their two children. They hire Randi, a young girl who quickly becomes an integral part of the household and all of their lives. She seems to have a special bond with Jacob, who seems to have features of autism but who is regarded by his parents as just a little delayed. Berne hints at mysteries in Randi's past, but never fully develops this aspect of the book. The ending was unsatisfying to me in its vagueness, but perhaps this was intentional, reflecting the unknown facets of all of our lives.

  • Sally Whitehead
    2019-04-16 05:12

    Well written in many ways, and builds tension in a nice steady way, but the ending is ultimately disappointing. Whilst I appreciate that the domestic "drama" created is purposefully more subtle and corrosive as opposed to the sense of shock the novel somehow leads you to expect, somehow in the closing 30 pages, it just doesn't work. The way the character of Randi, the nanny is dealt with,both during and after the climax, feels wasteful and incomplete. I much preferred Berne's first novel.

  • Mandy
    2019-04-19 23:43

    This book was almost like the movie the hand that rocks the craddle. It was full of detail that went on and on. I wanted to read about what happen to Randi when she left besides the postcard. I wanted to find out what happen to Howard after the town meeting. How did he walk out of there. The writer seemed to try to create suspens but all that I felt was created was annoying.

  • Tolly
    2019-04-23 00:48

    I wanted more oomph out of the secret. . . Or an angrier ending. . . Just more! It was hard to like the wife, the husband was likable, the nanny didn't have much of a personality. A lot of potential. I hope she gets better as an author because it was fairly close to being great!

  • Renee
    2019-04-16 02:07

    i think the ending could have been better - seemed like the author just couldnt figure out how to end it and just put anything there, as much as she tried to come up with a suspensful nanny in this book, it could have been better.

  • Ann
    2019-03-26 08:04

    The narrator on the audiobook spoke painfully slowly and way too close to the mic. It's hard to skim passed the slow parts on an audiobook, and the author dwells on the mundane. I was expecting more suspense but it was more anxiety among the characters.

  • Boots S
    2019-04-04 06:42

    No point to the story. no moral, no clear cut ending.I should have remembered the mantra --- if one is not interested by 100 pages, don't bother to finish.I did skip quite a number of paragraphs - something I never do, so could be I missed a vital thread.

  • Jan
    2019-04-08 00:47

    This was not one of my favorites -- I had never read anything by this author and based upon this book will probably not read another one. The story line had potential but just feel that the characters went no where to keep the story line interesting.

  • Barbara Wood
    2019-03-24 02:05

    I was eager to learn what the nanny's secret was and I was disappointed when it was revealed. The ending was anti-climatic.

  • Debra Morris
    2019-04-07 07:51

    I really enjoyed this book; it's an interesting read. I could empathize with the different characters and I thought that's what made the book so compelling.