- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Canada (May 8 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1554687616
- ISBN-13: 978-1554687619
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 18.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 281 g
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Arranged Paperback – May 8 2012
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“This zany novel gallops through the perils of one thirty-something redhead’s desperate search for love and marriage, no necessarily in that order.” (Elle Canada )
“Just when you think you’ve got Arranged figured out, time and again Catherine McKenzie delivers the flawless, unexpected twist that keeps you glued to the book.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Day the Falls Stood Still )
“A novel that explores what happens when what you think want collides with what you really need. Catherine McKenzie’s Arranged is a rare book: smart, funny, honest, and absorbing.” (Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy )
“A satisfying and entertaining romantic tale that puts a contemporary twist on old-fashioned ideas about marriage. I inhaled it in an afternoon, rooting for its heroine to find the love she longs for.” (Leah Stewart, author of The Myth of You and Me and Husband and Wife )
“Catherine McKenzie brings a smart twist to marriage and relationships in her second novel, the story of unlucky-in-love Anne Blythe. Arranged is crafted with pathos and subtle humor, and through it McKenzie’s heroine learnsthe hard waythat the happiest endings are often the ones least expected.” (Shawn Klomparens, author of Jessica Z and Two Years, No Rain )
“This is chick lit for real women, featuring a smart, competent heroine with a hopeless romantic streak…The humor ranges from biting sarcasm to slapstick, and the narrative voice is compulsively readable…Fans of Jennifer Weiner and Jennifer Crusie have found a new author to watch.” (Booklist (starred review) )
“Anyone who has ever looked for love in all the wrong places will love McKenzie’s latest tale of romance found in the place one least expects it. A real page-turner, Arranged is a perfect beach read. McKenzie will have readers laughing and crying right along with her heroine.” (RT Book Reviews )
“In her fast-paced and fun second novel, Catherine McKenzie...makes this far-fetched idea plausible and entertaining. With good dialogue, three-dimensional characters, and page-turning scenes, McKenzie expertly explores what makes a successful marraige work and the lengths to which some people will go to find true love.” (Publishers Weekly )
“Make a date with Catherine McKenzie’s Arranged this summer. A smart and honest novel about a woman’s desperate search for love and marriage, it will hit home for many.” (SheKnows.com "Must Read" on ARRANGED ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Fans of Christine Feehan will delight in this deeply sensual love story. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Here's the premise:
Anne Blythe has just broken up with another one of her boyfriends and finds a business card in the street promoting what she thinks is a dating company called, ironically, Blythe & Company. Because of the similarity of the company's name and her last name, she keeps the card and eventually calls this `dating' company only to discover they really arrange marriages. Tired of picking the wrong men, and after deep contemplation, she agrees to be matched for marriage. Soon, Anne is on her way to Mexico to meet, Jack, the man who's the perfect match for her, sight unseen.
Based solely on personality scores and psychology testing, Anne and Jack meet, and what unfolds from here will have you turning pages so quickly you'll want to get to the end, yet you'll also want to prolong your reading enjoyment. Jack and Anne's relationship from their very first meeting is so real, so sparked with tenderness and that first sexual tension that you'll have a difficult time putting ARRANGED down.
McKenzie writes fluid dialogue and beautiful descriptions; you'll wonder if there's really a Blythe & Company in existence already, and if there's not, why isn't there? What a concept! And Jack and Anne's relationship - it's one of those kinds that you'll be rooting for them, crying for them, turning the pages in anxious waiting wondering with oh-my-gosh moments, what could happen next!
Anne Blythe has a pretty good life - a job she likes, great friends and she's just landed a book contract. It's just that she keeps picking the wrong guy, over and over again.
"Have you ever noticed how no story that begins, ' I read his emails' ever finished with, 'I was completely wrong, he wasn't cheating on me'?"
When she picks up a business card that reads Blythe & Company - Arrangements Made, she sees it as a sign. She'll give arranged dating a try. But, it's not dating...it's arranged marriages. Why would anyone..?? Why not...??
And so Anne does. I was frantically flipping pages at this point, eager to see who Blythe & Company had chosen for Anne. And the teaser from the back cover had me wondering ..."until Anne learns that Jack and the company that arranged their marriage are not what they seem at all." More frantic page flipping until the book was finished.
What a fun premise for a book. It's a great fairy tale idea - what if someone could help you find 'the one', the perfect match for you? Would you do it? (There's a reading group guide that includes that very question).
I enjoyed the character of Anne -she was an interesting mix of confidence and uncertainty. I also enjoyed the supporting cast, especially Anne's brother Gilbert and his family. Anne's friends Sarah and William also rang true. But I wasn't enamoured with Jack. I just never found him as emotionally attractive as Anne did. There were a number of reasons for this, but I don't want to give the plot away. The ending is of the fairy tale variety, but isn't what I would have predicted or wanted. Arranged was an enjoyable read though - 4/5 for me.
Catherine McKenzie has firmly established herself in the chick lit genre. I'll be watching for her next book.
So yesterday Catherine McKenzie's first book, Spin, made it on my list of favorite reads for 2010. I know we're only three days into 2011 but I can tell you that Arranged will make it on my best of 2011 list. I loved it that much. I stayed up until 3 am to finished it and immediately wanted to reread it again. Arranged may seem on the surface like a light "chick lit" read, but underneath it's about more serious issues like loneliness, stability and trust. And it's a book that I know will stick with me for a long time.
Anne Blythe isn't always the most likable character in the world. She has a certain "type" of guy she's into and she's, well, kinda shallow when it comes to looks. For the first part of the book I spent a lot of time wanting to smack her upside the head. I mean, quit complaining that you can't find a decent guy when you only go for men who have movie star looks. Honestly. But as the book went on, and McKenzie let me slowly see deeper into Anne's psyche I felt a connection to the character that I rarely feel when reading. I think a lot of women are going to see aspects of themselves in Anne. I know I did.
Okay, here's a bit of background on moi. You need to know it so that you can understand how fully and completely connected I felt with Anne by the time I got about half way through the book, and why I became so entrenched in her story and her happiness. The hubs and I met in a bit of an unconventional way: I answered his personal online ad . I was sick and tired of the dating game and wanted to meet someone I knew I'd be compatible with. I also wanted to avoid that awkward does-he-like-me-like-me stage when you first meet someone of the opposite sex. Since I was answering a personal ad, all I had to do was meet the guy, see if we clicked, and if we didn't, so be it. Sure it's not as serious of a commitment as an arranged marriage, but I could still identify with everything Anne was feeling pre and post wedding. For me the connection was at times painful, and some of the things Anne goes through broke my heart so bad that I had to set the book down for a bit and gather myself.
As an Island girl, I got a kick out of all the Anne of Green Gables reference. I mean, there's no one on PEI who doesn't have some kind of a connection to Anne. Most of us have the seen the musical. And, if like me, you've ever worked as an usher at The Confederation Center of the Arts, then you've seen the musical enough times to know it off by heart 15 years later.
The author's writing was once again great. McKenzie has a straight-forward writing style that lends itself perfectly to the story. She has the amazing ability to handle some tough issues in a light way without being condescending, rude or awkward about it. In her books it seems effortless but I know that it must be hard to maintain that balance.
Arranged was way more romancy than Spin and -gasp- there may even be a bit of a sex scene it in, something that would normally turn the extremely prudish me off from finishing the book. But I felt such a strong connection to Anne and was so tied up in the plot and the writing was so great that I didn't give a hoot. I loved the book despite the fact that it had elements in it that I normally don't love. And that, my friends, is the sign of excellent writing, an amazing plot and stand out characters. All of which Arranged has.
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