What do you think; do you think an arranged marriage that finds you the perfect mate is a better road to a successful relationship or are you still a sucker for love? That’s really the main focus of Catherine McKenzie’s novel Arranged and it’s quite simply a fantastic read! I read her first novel Spin (my review) a few years ago and I couldn’t rave enough about that one and Arranged was no different for me. Catherine has become a favorite author of mine and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a fellow Canadian as well!
Anne Blythe – oh yes, you read that right. If you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables you will recognize those names. It turns out that Anne’s mother is an absolute fanatic over anything Green Gables thus Anne’s name and her brother’s which is Gilbert. However that is the least of Anne’s problems. She has just walked out on her latest relationship and she’s devastated. Why does she keep picking the wrong men when all she really wants is to be loved, get married, and have kids? When her best friend Sarah announces she’s getting married Anne has had enough. Where is that card she found on the street that day? The one from the dating service? And should she call them?
After giving it some serious thought she decides to call only to find out it’s not a dating service; it’s actually an agency that arranges a marriage for you with your perfect mate which is gleaned from several testing procedures and a psychiatrist. Let’s not forget it’s pretty pricey too but what has she got to lose? She obviously can’t find that perfect man on her own so she signs up. After passing the tests she’s sent on a vacation to Mexico to meet her chosen mate and the plan is to be married before going home. As you have likely guessed she has mentioned none of this to her best friend Sarah, her brother or her parents because none of them would approve and they’d try to talk her out of it.
Fast forward to Mexico where she meets Jack. He’s not bad looking at all even though he’s not at all the type of man she normally goes for. Anne’s type is tall, dark, and with blue eyes and well Jack is the opposite. Yet isn’t that why she’s here – because she does keep picking the wrong men? Maybe doing the opposite of what she’s always done will get her the life she wants in the end. Anne decides to throw caution to the wind and marry Jack. Will it turn out to be the best thing she’s ever done or will she just end up hurt and devastated once again?
Anne is a great character. She’s just looking for what everyone is looking for; what her friends and her brother have. She believes in love and happily ever after; she just can’t seem to find it. She makes herself so vulnerable in this story and you can’t help but feel for her. My life has been full of wrong choices when it comes to men so I really felt a connection with her there. While Anne was my favorite I really liked all the characters in the book. Sarah, her best friend, was great too. She’d go to any length for Anne and some of them made me laugh. They had known each other since grade school and had that once in a lifetime friendship that we all want.
The novel really makes you question which is better – a service that matches to you that perfect person or the one you pick for yourself? Is it better to start out as friends or have that absolute passion where you just jump in head first? As is said in the book when you dive in head first, sooner or later that passion dies and what are you left with. Some people manage to hold on to that passion but a lot don’t and if you never really had a friendship then I do think you are doomed to not be as happy as you could be. Ultimately I think it’s so important to be friends with your mate – not the same as your best girlfriend of course, but still friends. This would make such a great pick for your bookclub. I don’t think there would be a shortage of chatting material between talking about friendship, marriage, and the arranged marriage aspect.
Arranged comes highly recommended by me. I love Catherine’s writing style and the stories she tells. She always draws me completely into her stories and makes me care for the people she has brought alive in the pages of her book. I can’t wait to read her next one called Forgotten!
I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to pop by the other tour stops to see what everyone else thought of the book. You can find Catherine on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. Arranged can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours via the Publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.
bermudaonion (Kathy) says
I’m still a sucker for love but I’ve known people in arranged marriages who are very happy. The book sounds great!
Just added this to my list to get! I love this topic; not sure why but probably because it has such romantic possibilities (also lots of nonromantic ones, but I’ll stick with optimism for once!)
On the surface, it looks like a really light book, but it sounds like it gets you thinking. I’ll definitely keep this one in mind.
Now this one I want 🙂 It has several layers and, well it just sounds like a good fit for me
I love the idea of this story, and have imagined such scenarios myself! It sounds like a really intriguing and fun read, but one that also makes you think. Terrific review today, Dar! I loved it!
Highly recommended has me wanting to read this one soon. In fact, I was going to read it after my library book but then I got sucked into book two of Fifty Shades!! I’m naughty!
I like that this book raises so many questions on a very interesting topic! Since you highly recommend it, on my wish list it goes!
Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours says
I’m glad this one didn’t disappoint and that you’re excited about her next book!
Thanks for being on the tour.
I hadn’t heard of this author before now but I’m definitely intrigued after reading your review. Maybe I should add both of these to my TBR list…great review!
Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic says
I only scanned the review because this is actually one of my next reads. I’m super excited because I really enjoyed Spin.
Devon hanna says
Awesome book sounds like a great summer read,,cant wait to read it..thanks for the great review..
I have a copy of Arranged sitting on my shelf and, after reading your fantastic review, I’m even more excited to read this book. I haven’t read any of Catherine’s books in full yet…I read several chapter of Spin in an extended excerpt and need to get a copy so I can finish it! I liked that book so much, I said yes to a copy of Arranged when offered it. I wanted to save it to read this summer when I’m hot and need a good book that will distract me.
I think an arranged marriage could work. Of course, any marriage can work if both parties decide and determine that they will make it work. Love is a choice. And yes, it is very important to be friends with your mate. If you don’t like the person, there isn’t much there…
I love a good love story ..
I have to say that I’ve always believed in the woman’s right to choose and not have to be in an arranged marriage. This book seems to approach it differently – Anne gets to choose whether or not she agrees to this arranged marriage – the arranged part seems to be allowing this service to match her to someone. Sounds very interesting and I’ve added it to my TBR list!
Colleen Turner says
Wow, sounds really good! I cannot wait to read it. I have to say that I don’t think I could go for an arrange marriage though…finding true love is just too much fun :).
Holly Gilliatt says
I absolutely loved SPIN and can’t wait to read arranged. She is a writer to watch!
Sofia Del Rio says
I loved the book so much! It was my first Cahterine Mckenzie book I ever read and hooked me to read her other novel Spin.
Na S. says
I guess it would depend on the person whether they fall for someone right away or do so gradually from a friendship onwards. I do like that this story raises this question. This alone makes for a great discussion along with other things that go into a relationship.
Diane B. says
As usual you gave as a great review with just enough of the book to get our interest. At first I thought it was going to be a quick,easy read but it sounds like there are some twists & turns in this story that really start us thinking. I loved the review, it definately got my interest.
Karen Wapinski says
Nice review. I am a sucker for love, and I can completely emphasize for making the wrong choices in love.
I love the idea of this book and putting your happiness in someone else’s hands.
I will be giving this one a try ^_^
Karen Wapinski says
I left a comment on your review
Karen Wapinski says
I would prefer to meet someone on my own. However, I think things might work out if you are set up by mutual friends.
Thanks for the review.
Denise Karp says
I read your review and now I really want to read “Arranged,” even though I mostly read historical fiction, you made this book sound captivating!
I am also a follower.
Great review. I am very intrigued. I am also entering the contest to win the copies of Arranged you are giving away. I found your site through pinterest.