Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Author: Catherine McKenzie
Published: January 8, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Paperback: 416 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, close friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share her life with, however, she just can't seem to get it right. When her latest relationship implodes, and her best friend announces she's engaged, Anne impulsively calls what she thinks is a dating service--only to discover that it's actually an exclusive, and pricey, arranged "marriage" service. Anne initially rejects the idea, but the more she learns about the service, the more she thinks: "Why not?" After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world; maybe it could work for her.

A few months later, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort, where, over the course of a weekend, she meets and then marries Jack. And initially, everything seems to be working out. . .

My Thoughts: After reading the novel Spin (link goes to my review), I really fell in love with Catherine McKenzie's writing style. It's laid back yet manages to grip you in such a way that you want to read the book in one sitting. Her second novel was no exception to her first book and it made me love her even more. In this novel, we have Anne who has given up on the idea of ever finding the right man. When she discovers a professional arranged marriage business, she figures that she has nothing left to lose and gives it a shot. She is arranged to marry Jack, someone who is very compatible with her, but of course, things go awry and not everything is perfect.
One of the best things about this book was Anne. She is such a strong character, someone who you could definitely see existing out in the real world. McKenzie doesn't overexaggerate her characters and put them into positions and situations that are unfathomable. Arranged marriage might sound way out there, but as you are reading this book, it slowly starts to not seem so crazy. You can relate to why Anne would go this route instead of continue dating (especially as you learn about her exes). Her actions are things that any woman might do, making her so great. And Jack is a great foil for her. They instantly connect and they are a great pair. You know that something has to happen between him and Anne since this novel can't just sail along smoothly, but you just can't put your finger on it.
I also really enjoyed this idea of arranged marriages in our world. I wish that McKenzie has explored this concept a little more, because I do find it intriguing, but her novel gave a pretty good overview of how the process might work. If you haven't heard of McKenzie, I highly recommend her to anyone that enjoys chick lit. She is a great writer, someone with a fresh voice and plots that aren't like anything else that is coming out right now. She has a great writing style and you just want to devour her books in one sitting. Her latest one, Forgotten, came out in mid-October, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what she publishes next! 


  1. I love it when you find an author you love and you're able to follow them as they write each and every book. That's what happened to me with Tana French.

    PS I sent you an email about being a tour host for TLC Book Tours. I've got my fingers crossed that my email doesn't end up in your spam folder, but sometimes that does happen! :)

  2. I loved this one! I agree that Ms. McKenzie has a knack at putting characters in situations that would seem unfathomable and making it seem real and normal. I'm finding that I'm loving her as an author. I have Forgotten as well. I can't wait to get to read that one.