Title: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss
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.
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie is a provocative and thought-provoking novel about taking love out of the equation when searching for the person to spend your life with. What is most important in a marriage? Is it friendship? Or is it love? Or both?
Anne Blythe has yet another failed relationship behind her. No longer trusting her instincts and with no viable prospects on the horizon, she turns to an arranged marriage service to find Mr. Right. She struggles with her decision to marry a man she has never seen or met but she is pleasantly surprised by the man the agency has been chosen for her to marry. Anne hits it off immediately with the adventurous and playful Jack, and after some much needed soul searching, they decide to tie the knot.
Anne and Jack present a united front as they settle into married life. Anne and Jack respect one another and they enjoy spending together. There is give and take on both sides and they easily find compromises to the issues that arise between them.
Arranged is a rather light-hearted yet intriguing romance. The characters are well-developed and likable with realistic flaws and imperfections. The plot is fresh and engrossing and Catherine McKenzie skillfully takes the story in an unanticipated direction.
Another outstanding novel from a fresh voice in women’s contemporary fiction that leaves readers eagerly anticipating Ms. McKenzie’s next novel.