Friday, February 7, 2014

Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Title:  Arranged
Author:  Catherine McKenzie
Genre:  Chick-lit/Romance
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages:  416
Acquired via:  Purchased from Amazon


Synopsis 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.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I rarely give chick-lit and/or contemporary romance a shot, because most of the times that I do, I've been disappointed.  In this case, I wouldn't say I was disappointed, but I certainly wasn't blown away.

Arranged is a novel about a woman who decides she's finished with the dating game and uses an arranged marriage service to find herself a husband.  Obviously there's a lot of inner monologue about her misgivings and doubts.  The whole first third of the book is about the process leading up to finding Anne the perfect person.  So it's mostly character development and background.  The second third is about her meeting her husband and their initial sparks and tension and getting-to-know-each-other phase.  And the last third is about when they start to adjust to life together and obviously face a huge conflict that must be resolved by the end of the book.

For the most part, the book is cute.  The characters are good; the story is fun; and the ending is mostly satisfying.  I just wish the book had been more about their life after their arranged marriage.  Mostly the book deals with everything leading up to it and the "honeymoon."  I think a book about what an actual arranged marriage is like would have been a bit more interesting.  Also, personal preference - please lay off the F-word.  I just get so uncomfortable when I feel like every other word is an F-bomb.

My biggest problem with the book was the huge conflict and resolution.  I kept having this feeling of deja vu.  And then I realized why.  I had seen this same exact story before, in the form of a romantic comedy movie.  I won't say which one, or it will give away EVERYTHING, but it was definitely the same exact plot and resolution.

Overall, Arranged is a cute but unoriginal story.  I think that about sums it up.

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