Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
May 15, 2012 16 Comments
Number of pages: 416
First published: 2011 (Canada), this USA edition 2012 (May 15th)
Genre: contemporary fiction, chick-lit
I got this book: for review from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
I read the first book by Catherine McKenzie, Spin, a few months ago and enjoyed it a lot, so I was keen to read her next book. Arranged is chick-lit of the kind where the main character is not a complete brain-dead girl who can’t do anything right (the kind of chick-lit that gives chick-lit a bad name). Instead, Anne is a normal person who is looking for a man after being disappointed in her relationships several times. I was very curious about this book, given that the main character uses an arranged marriage service to find her a husband. Could that really work?
Arranged: What it is about
Anne Blythe is in her early thirties and has just dumped her live-in boyfriend because he was cheating on her. When she finds a business card from what she thinks is a dating agency she decides to keep it for later, you never know.
After a few failed dates, Anne believes she will never find someone to share her life with. When her best friend Sarah announces her engagement, Anne decides to try the dating agency. But this turns out to be a arranged marriage agency. They are very expensive, but guarantee they will find her a partner who is a good match, with whom she will have a great marriage.
Half a year later, Anne is in Mexico, and meets her prospective husband Jack on the night before the wedding. It seems all will end well.
Arranged: What I thought
I loved premise of the book and was curious to find out how this would work for Anne. Would she really find a husband this way? Someone who she could actually imagine living with?
What I really liked (but I’m not sure whether that was the book or just suspicious-me) was that during most of the book I kept thinking Anne would be tricked in some way: for instance, maybe the agency was no good and only after her money or the husband she’d get would turn out to be awful after the wedding, etc. That gave a certain suspense to the book which I really enjoyed.
The ending of the book was satisfactory (the sort of ending you’d like to have in a book like this), but it was also rather predictable. It made the story a little cheap, while the beginning of the book was so much more original.
I was doubtful about anyone just taking a business card and trust that the company involved is genuine. Especially given the amount of money she had to pay, I’d think Anne should have researched the company more.
The book is a quick and easy read. I liked Anne, although I didn’t feel much attached to her. Most of the book felt very believable, including the relationship with her friend Sarah, with whom she has a fall-out at some point.