Book Review: Arranged

Book Review: ArrangedArranged by Catherine McKenzie
Published by Harper Weekend on December 28, 2012
Pages: 390

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.

I have to admit that even after all this time I still love reading Catherine’s books because I always have a hard time putting the book down and when I do it’s for the shortest time. This says a lot about the books. I have very few automatic buy authors that do this for me.

This is Catherine’s third adult fiction. Each of her books is stand-alones.

The main character, Anne Shirley Blythe comes off as more realistic and one that I am sure many single 30 years old could relate to. Honestly, I actually had some of the same feelings as the main character did about worrying about getting married when it seemed like all my friends were getting married and being alone for the rest of my life.

The book is divided into three sections. Each section covers the journey that the main character is taking in her life.

I loved the main character and her name as well, Anne Shirley Blythe. Does that sound familiar to you? Well if you happen to be a fan of Anne of Green Gables you will recognize that name. As soon as I read her name was when I think I fell in love with the book. I am a huge Anne of Green Gables fan. (Just like the author is)

The book opens up with Anne questioning her boyfriend, Stuart about his cheating. Stuart being the complete idiot doesn’t really deny it because Anne has all the proof she needs (emails) and walks out of their apartment heartbroken and upset. You could see that Stuart doesn’t’ really care about Anne because he doesn’t even stop her.

In her new apartment, Anne decides to go and have drinks with her best friend, Sarah. It’s on the way to the bar that she spots a business card just lying on the street. She picks it up to read and gets a little excited seeing the name Blythe & Company. What are the odds of that happening? She holds onto the card.

It takes running into her ex (all of them married) and Sarah getting married which makes her decide to finally call Blythe & Company. Thinking that they are a dating service, she figures she has nothing to lose but quickly realizes that it’s not a dating service but a service that arranges marriages. She figures it’s worth a shot but has second thoughts because it cost $10,000. She decides to give it a try what does she have to lose but $500 for the testing they need to do.

A week later she gets a calling saying that she is okay and is approved for the next round and wants to know if she will proceed with the process. She does and quickly figures out how she will get the next installment of money (thankfully her book that she has been working on sells so she has nothing to worry about) and as part of the arrangement, she begins therapy. That will a part of her until she gets married.

In part two of the book Anne finds out that they found a perfect match for her. She is on her way to Mexico to meet her future husband, Jack. She has no idea what he looks like but knows that they are compatible. Proving that it’s what’s inside that counts and not what the person looks like. I think Anne is surprised at first when she meets him because he isn’t someone Anne would go for, he is the exact opposite. They spend most of the week getting to know each other, along with the mandatory couple’s therapy. Will reality finally hit Anne and make her change her mind about getting married?

It’s in the third part that I was blown away. I couldn’t believe what Jack had done to Anne and Anne probably wouldn’t have found out had she not sat on his journal. Will Anne be able to forgive him or is what they had a lie? What will she do when she realizes that Blythe & Company isn’t who they really are? Will she expose them for what they really are?

Hmm doesn’t this sound good?