Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

from goodreads

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.

review

Arranged was easily the most fun book I've read this summer: it was cute, charming and swept me off my feet! As someone who adored Anne of Green Gables, as someone who crushed on Gilbert Blythe while growing up and as someone who is constantly spoiled by fictional hotties that real life can never match up to, I could relate to the main character, Anne and her predicament.

After a string of relationships that all ended the same disastrous way, a business card that Anne finds lying on the road leads her to Blythe and Company. She approaches them thinking they are a dating service but as it turns out, they are a little more than that. Blythe and Company is an arranged marriage service and after a lot of thought and research Anne asks herself, why not enter into an arranged marriage? She is tired of dating and failed relationships and while pricey, Blythe and Company has an impressive success rate. And that is how Anne meets Jack and marriage is just the beginning of their relationship.

I'm from India and arranged marriages are pretty much the norm here though not necessarily the only option.  It's how my parents and grandparents and great grandparents got married and when it works out, it's pretty amazing; when marriage is a mixture of friendship, adjustments and gradually, maybe even love. It was interesting to read about a fresh perspective on arranged marriage, when it takes place in an environment where it's not the norm at all. I loved how Anne didn't just jump into it: she did the research and tried to make an informed decision.

Jack, Anne's match/husband, was a surprise. I loved how he was flawed, down to earth and yet so charming. Even when he was sarcastic to the point of being intimidating and made some pretty bad decisions, he was so open and real, he made me smile so much! I could feel the chemistry between Anne and Jack and it was amazing how we got to see their relationship grow and develop.They both had issues of their own and there were a lot of twists and rude surprises thrown into the mix but there was no doubt that they were made for each other!

But Arranged wouldn't have been half as awesome without Anne's Anne of Green Gables-crazy mother and the rest of her really fun and supportive family. Anne's brother was called -wait for it- Gilbert Blythe and I absolutely loved their banter and that he jokingly calls her Cordelia. It made me nostalgic for Anne of Green Gables (and made me want to pick up the other books of L. M. Montgomery's series, save the two other Anne books I'd read out of sequence). The book was filled with so many Anne references, I loved it and if you are high on the Anne of Green Gables love, I'm sure you'll be charmed by it too!

Though I liked Catherine McKenzie's debut Spin a tiny bit more, Arranged was a fresh, fun and thought provoking read. After Spin and Arranged, I'm sure I'll read anything by this author! I love that her books always deal with real issues with a unique spin to it and are so heartwarming! I think it goes without saying that I wholeheartedly recommend reading Arranged and anything written by Catherine McKenzie, really.

Publication date: 15th May, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Source: ARC obtained from publisher
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

12 comments:

  1. I'm more a young-adult book reader, but your review makes me want to read this one. It sounds fun and matches perfectly what I'm looking for. Moreover, Jack sounds like the kind of male character I love to read about.
    I know what to buy next!
    Great review. :)

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  2. This sounds like a really interesting book especially since it deals with arranged marriage. I don't think I've ever read a book with that theme. I've always been intrigued by the whole process, because I know it's success rate is quite high. It's also very common in Indian television series (which I guiltily admit watching :P ), so I'd love to see the American take of it.
    Great review, Pooja ! :)

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  3. This sounds like the perfect summer read..i have been craving these fun reads...awesome review. I hope to pick this one up.

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  4. Oh my gosh, Ajoop!! Can you be even more awesome?? Gilbert is one of my earliest book boyfriend too - I adore how much he cares and protects Anne! Anne from Green Gables is very stubborn, but Gilbert is always so patient toward her! How much I wish I could have a guy who is that SMART, that GORGEOUS, and that NICE LOL! x)

    Oh, I think I would be very jealous and try something ridiculous if I were in Annie's situation! x) It's amazing that many of your families's marriages are arranged too - it's not a foreign design here either! Hmm, and unlike other girls, I'm not very opposed toward the idea of arranged married LOL! Maybe it's just my romantic side kicking in. :P

    What a fun review, Ajoop! So glad you really enjoyed this book! This book make my Can't-wait-wishlist thanks to your super amazing review! x)

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  5. I hardly ever read adult books because I'm so scared of being scarred by explicit scenes LOL but oh my goodness, this one sounds SO GOOD! I've never heard of the idea of an arranged marriage service before, but I love how you talked a bit about how it's the norm where you come from. It's so intriguing to learn that so I know that arranged marriages look different to different people! :)

    Amazing review, Ajoop! This book sounds unlike any book I've heard about, and your glowing recommendation is putting this on my TBR pile! ;) <3

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  6. Oh this sounds so cute. I loved Anne of Green Gables as a kid and I am sure it would be fun to see how it is all woven into the story. I would also like to see how the arranged marriage works out. It is so interesting to me to read your take on this Pooja, coming from a culture where arranged marriage is still the norm. I am sure it was fun for you, too. Thanks for the recommend.

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  7. Gilbert Blythe! *le swoon*

    Oh, this book sounds utterly charming.

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  8. @Freak-YA-tastic Awesome! I hope you do check it out and like it as much as I did :) Jack is definitely the kinda guy I love reading about!

    @Nick Hahah! I loved the premise too and wondered what the book would make of it.

    @Kimba Hope you pick it up, Kimba! It's the perfect summer read :)

    @Hilda Awww, YAY for the Gilbert Blythe love! He's so awesome and nice and right for Anne... I continue to love Anne of Green Gables to this date! It's so cute that you're all romantic about arranged marriage. <3 I'm not sure if it personally appeals to me or not yet :P Thanks squealing about Gilbert with me Hilda and hope you read Arranged soon :D

    @Mimi Awww. Glad it made it to your TBR list, Mimi. <3 This is pretty adorable chic lit with not many explicit sex scenes or anything. Just one, I think.

    @Heidi It was a lot of fun and the Anne of Green Gables references were adorable ;-) Since you're a fan, I'm sure you'll love that, Heidi!

    @Missie Thanks so much for stopping by, Missie! Totally agree about Gilbert Blythe. *sigh*

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  9. I don't read adult fiction too often but this book sounds really interesting and with such a great review how can I not?!? I love all the Anne of Green Gables references, I mean who wasn't in love with Gilbert Blythe when they were younger? Or still now, haha ;)

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  10. Haha Gilbert Blythe!! <33 Definitely loved the Anne of Green Gables references. Who wouldn't, right? Thanks so much for stopping by my blog... Let me know if you decide to pick up Arranged! :)

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  11. It sounds really good! Couldn't resist adding it to my TBR list. I think I haven't read any books about arranged marriages, and I think it can be very fun. You make this book sound hilarious and cute! Amazing review, Ajoop <3

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  12. Glad it made it to your TBR, Sophie! It was an extremely charming and cute book! I hope you read it soon =)

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HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)