Seating Arrangements: Orla’s Verdict

Have you started reading Seating Arrangements yet? Here’s one reader’s review – be warned it contains spoilers!

‘I liked the whole New England vibe of the book and because this novel was was well-written, I would like to read the author’s next book.

I loved the humour, it definitely made me laugh particularly all the whale motif references, and, without giving too much of the plot away, the beach whale scene, the bicycle accident and the laundry room moment. The characters were very well drawn, to the point that you cared about them, especially Winn despite his obsession with joining the exclusive golf club. I thought the author got into his mindset very well, you really could feel his concerns and feel all he felt about his age, his past and his future. I liked the scenes in which he knew he was making a fool of himself over Agatha but really could not help himself. The author created believable people, it was easy to feel Livia’s vunerability and youth, and to sympathise with Biddy a women we all recognise, holding everything together. I also enjoyed the more minor characters – Dominique particularly was interesting and was used as a clever device to look at the whole WASP world from an outsiders viewpoint.  

In terms of criticism, I found the female characters, with the exception of Winn, were better drawn than the male who felt a bit one dimensional. Also the parts that delved into Winn’s fathers life got a bit tedious. I also found the roof scene a bit too much and not believable.’

Do you agree with Orla? Share your thoughts at or in our forums.