30 April 2012

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Romance, Chicklit, Women's fiction.
Publication : May 15th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can't seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she's engaged, Anne can't help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn't a dating service; it's an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company's success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn't it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out-until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all.

I should probably begin with telling you that I adore Catherine's writing. I read her book Spin last year and if you've read my review, you'd know how much I loved it. Chick lits are usually predictable, they have a standard plot that involves something funny, some romance and a lovable heroine but just as with Catherine's previous novel Spin, Arranged is anything but predictable. It has all the best elements of chick lit combined with a wonderful, relatable and unique love story.

Anne Blythe is tired of dating. She's sick of going through one relationship after another hoping it would work out and that she might've found 'the one'. She's ready to settle down but after the end of her latest relationship, she realized she was nowhere closer to 'settling down' than when she was 20. However, call it fate or destiny, one day she comes across a business card that promises her the life she had dreamed of.

I'm from India and arranged marriages are pretty common here. Well, as common as something that's advertised in the papers. I understand that it's awkward, getting married to someone you don't really know and it's probably not for me but I also know that it could be and is pretty amazing for some people, although most of us don't see that. Arranged is a beautiful novel about friendship turning into love.

Anne's a protagonist that a lot of women can relate to - she's successful, has great friends, a loving family and believes in love. Sure, it's a little crazy that she has decided to go for an arranged marriage but after so many failed relationships, it's understandable. Besides, Jack and Anne hit it off right from the beginning and it's pretty awesome watching them fall in love. There's nothing sudden, abrupt or awkward about their relationship/feelings as we literally see them develop through the novel.

As for Jack, well, he's a guy and he's flawed but Anne loves him anyway. I couldn't have put it any better than the author - it all comes down to what kind of life you want - and Anne knows what she wants.

McKenzie's writing is to-the-point and enjoyable. I think she's the only author I know who manages to tackle serious topics while keeping the novel light, funny, romantic and entertaining. God, I was in tears by the end of the book - happy, sappy tears. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys love stories, chick lit or any kind of women's fiction really.

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Find The Author :

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  1. Eeeppp!!! This book sounds so good! Awesome review! Totally going to read this :D

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books

  2. Whoa, arranged marriage is also a pretty common thing in Pakistan, but I am sure it'd be interesting to read about in the book.

    From your review, it definitely sounds great and I love reading about how unlikely relationships bloom anyway.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  3. I LOVED Spin too. So I would've picked up this book anyway! And it sounds soo good! Loved your review :) Sometimes, sappy, happy endings are the best!

  4. this.. is a great riview... I love it.. this book will be my next read list anyway.. xD