Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Arranged by Catherine McKenzieRating: 4.5/5
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.

A fun book for chick-lit lovers.

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

16 Responses to Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

  1. Mystica says:

    I understand there are three books and all three are good! sounds really good this one.

  2. bookslist says:

    Sounds really good!

  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I, like you, kept wondering what was going to happen to Anne and when something did… I was completely surprised by the plot twist! Loved it.

  4. This sounds fun. I was about to say that I wasn’t sure I’d pick it up though as I have far too many books I want to read bu then I saw the comments above about the twist…..I love a twist! 🙂

  5. bibliosue says:

    I think one of the tenets of *chick lit* is that the endings are usually predictable. This one has an original premise though and sounds like a fun read.

  6. Shan says:

    I thought the premise of the book was great. But I felt the book was just okay. I saw her next book at the library recently, I’m contemplating picking it up. I think I’ll give her writing another chance to wow me, but this one just didn’t.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I see you’re in Canada (from your blog address) – the rest of us have to wait until later this year. I hope you’ll read the next book and share with us.

  7. Another fun and relaxing read for the summer… if summer will come here in Belgium.

  8. Skimming your review as mine goes up next week and I have not started it yet. I loved Spin as well and I am really excited to dive into this one. 🙂

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