Arranged – International Bestseller Book Review

Love and marriage follow a predictable pattern in our western culture, specifically in that they typically happen in that order. When Anne Blythe finds herself climbing out of yet another failed relationship at thirty-three, she feels the weight of failure upon her shoulders. She had fully expected to be in a serious relationship, a lasting one, at this point in her life, and now she must start all over again. In Catherine McKenzie’s new novel Arranged, readers may find themselves surprised at the path Anne ends up following.

The business card that literally crosses her path one evening catches her eye because it features her own last name. Though vague, the tone of the card leads her to believe that it’s for a dating service. She pockets it with no immediate intention of using it, but not much time passes before she feels compelled to call. Perhaps it’s a sign from the universe, and Anne is open to anything right now. Except that when she finds out it’s for a company that actually arranges marriages– between complete strangers!– she questions if she is indeed open to anything.

It’s not a spoiler to say that Anne does pursue an arranged marriage through the company, though the twists and turns may not be what she, or readers, expected. McKenzie’s piece of light fiction makes one think about the traditional aspects of courtship and marriage. Could an arranged marriage set up by an agency actually work for two regular people in today’s day and age? The agency insists that a match between two individuals based upon mutual interests and personality types can result in a solid friendship. They emphasize this as more fulfilling than the traditional notion of romantic love, though they concede that these friendship marriages can indeed evolve into a love-based relationship. Anne Blythe is about to find out for herself.

I enjoy Catherine McKenzie’s writing because it reads so naturally to me. Her characters are believable, even when put into unbelievable scenarios. Though, having read her previous novel Spin (linked to my review from earlier this year), I found more than a few similarities in character development and plot twists, which made it a bit predictable for me, but not unenjoyable. It’s that time of year for fun and entertaining reading, especially on the beach or by the pool, and Arranged fits the bill quite nicely.

We’re happy to offer one copy of Arranged for today’s giveaway. Leave a comment here to be entered, U.S. mailing addresses only, please. We’ll announce the lucky winner on July 2 in our weekly review column.

5 Minutes for Books Reviewer Dawn hopes to spend much of her summer with a book in hand. She’ll have to put it down occasionally to pay some attention to her long-lost blog, my thoughts exactly.


  1. Robin says

    As an aspiring author the thing I always think of when I see a really original idea is “damn I wish I had thought of that first.” I would enjoy reading this greatly.

  2. Mary M. says

    I’m impatient and have been looking for this book in my local bookstores with no luck. Prize me, please?? :)

  3. says

    I just found your site – Lovin’ it!!

    I love Ms. Mckenzie’s book and have been wanting to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  4. says

    I know a few people who met via a matchmaker or “arranged marriage.” I think that for many, it’s not exactly meeting a stranger in front of the officiant, but rather meetings with their families and with chaperones a few times before the decision is made.

    So this is “light fiction” which also “makes one think about the traditional aspects of courtship and marriage”, huh? Sounds like an interesting combination.

  5. Emily says

    I like the question can an arranged marriage between people based on mutual interests work. I heard some really good advice recently, that you should like the person you end up in a relationship with instead of focusing on falling in love first. It’s better in the long run to not just love them, but to like them as well.

  6. says

    I read the review, and admit, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to reserve the book at my local library. I started it last night, and am nearly 2/3 of the way through. I am really enjoying McKenzie’s writing style- she creates such believable characters. I would agree its light fiction that makes you think.

  7. Anita Yancey says

    This book sounds interesting. I would enjoy reading it to find out the rest of Anne’s story. Please enter me. Thanks!

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