by Catherine McKenzie
Pub. Date: February 1, 2012
Book received from: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Anne Blythe cannot find a good man. When her latest relationship falls apart, her best friend announces her engagement, and her brother announces his fourth child on the way, Anne decides to try a dating service that fate has seemingly thrown her way. Only, as Anne discovers a bit too late, it is not a dating service, but is actually a company specializing in arranged marriages. When she finds out this information, she still decides to go forward with the process and jump in- because, hey, why not?
In what could be a disastrous plotline and concept, McKenzie takes the issues involved just seriously enough, while making the reader laugh out loud throughout as Anne fumbles her way through her days. With numerous pop-culture references and witty, bantering dialog, it becomes extremely easy to get sucked into the story. Anne is the right amount of flawed, smart, savvy, and self-aware that one does not feel sorry for her situation, but rather celebratory that she seems fearless- even through her doubts.
After reading Spin earlier this year by McKenzie, I became an instant fan of hers. Arranged only strengthens my liking of her writing. The books are quick to read, and are over before you know it- but not in the ‘I had to skim most of it’ sort of way. Rather, she manages to make the characters seem very real by making them flawed, quirky, and easily relatable- and never shallow in the least. While reading, one will make comparisons to Bridget Jones, but McKenzie’s ladies are always headstrong and full of self-discovery, rather than despair and defeat. I must admit that I had a definite ‘Wow- I have been there’ moment while reading a certain scene involving Gilmore Girls, making Anne instantly even more relatable and real. Okay, so really, if I must be honest, it was a bit scary just how much I related to Anne- right down to the red hair. That is the magic of Ms. McKenzie’s books: she makes you admit things to yourself that you may not want to say out loud.
Arranged is a must-read for those who desire chick-lit with a bit more substance than others, as she explores marriage from differing perspectives. From page one, you will want to follow this fiery red-head along her path of self-discovery and celebrate her successes along the way. This book is simply unputdownable, delivering a fun, yet serious, story in a hilarious, whip-smart fashion. McKenzie is one to watch out for, as she is sure to suck us in time and time again, with real characters that are just right. There is a new girl on the block, and you will want to be besties with her right away.
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This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Catherine McKenzie, go to her website here.