Arranged – International Bestseller Book Review

by Dawn

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.

Email Author    |    Website About Dawn

When she's not reviewing books, 5 Minutes for Books contributor Dawn (and her online alter ego, morninglight mama) can be found blogging at my thoughts exactly and contributing to The DC Moms.

View all articles by

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stacie Fontinell June 18, 2012 at 12:09 am

I would love to read it!


2 Candy Olivares June 18, 2012 at 1:58 am

Sounds like a great read! Would love to read it.


3 LaTanya June 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

I would love to read this book.


4 Dara June 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

I am looking for a good read! Something light and firmly!


5 Dara June 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

Yeah that was supposed to say girly not firmly! Ha


6 Kate June 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

It certainly sounds like some interesting summer reading! Thanks for the giveaway! :)


7 Sandra K321 June 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

Sounds like it’s a bit different than most of the new releases. Please include me.


8 Lori D. June 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

Would like to win this for my niece to read.


9 Jennifer Thomas June 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

Sign me up for this one!


10 Denise M June 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

Interesting premise for a book, arranged marriage in modern time.


11 Barb June 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Sounds interesting–I’d love to read.


12 Missional Mama June 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Sounds like a fun read!


13 June June 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Wonder what the big twist is in this story.


14 Beth C June 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I’d really like to read this book. Thanks!


15 Kim June 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

This sounds good–it reminds me of Eileen Goudge’s The Replacement Wife (sort of) which I really loved!


16 Lori June 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Sounds very interesting!


17 Daniel M June 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

sounds like a fun read!


18 Krista June 19, 2012 at 1:26 am

This sounds super interesting!


19 Kayo June 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

Sounds like a fun summers read!


20 Linda Stewart June 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

Sounds like a good read!


21 Beth June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

Always looking for a good light summer read this time of year!


22 Idaho Jill June 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

love light summer reads!


23 Van June 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

Put me down for this one please.


24 Jennifer N June 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Interesting topic! Thanks for the giveaway!


25 angie June 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm

sounds like an awesome read


26 Alison S. June 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I always enjoy getting new books to read! I’d love this one.


27 Jessica T June 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

Looks like a good read!


28 Chuck June 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

This book sounds promising.


29 Liene June 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This book sounds interesting, please count me in.


30 Staci A June 21, 2012 at 10:43 am

Sounds like a great read!


31 Angela E. June 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

I shall enjoy reading this one if I win.


32 melissa n June 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

this looks like such a good read!! thanks for the chance!


33 Don June 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

My wife would like this book.


34 Linda Kish June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


35 Rissa Huffman June 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I would also love to read it… ♥♥♥


36 Robin June 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

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.


37 Mary M. June 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

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


38 Susan S. June 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

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!


39 rhonda June 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Book sounds great would love to read it.


40 Garrett June 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Thanks for the chance to win this one.


41 Laura June 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Would love to win this book!


42 Barb: 1SentenceDiary June 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

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.


43 Emily June 23, 2012 at 8:19 am

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.


44 Beth C June 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Looks like a book I would enjoy! Thanks!


45 april yedinak June 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I would love to read this. It sounds like an interesting story.


46 Jeff June 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The book sounds interesting, but I would never go for an arranged marriage.


47 Lucy June 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Sounds like a fun book to read!


48 Rachel T. June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

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.


49 Anita Yancey June 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

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


50 samantha June 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm

always looking for a good book


51 Libby June 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Count me in!


52 Antonia June 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Sounds super interesting!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: