Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A few months later, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort, where, over the course of a weekend, she meets and then marries Jack. And initially, everything seems to be working out. . . . -- William Morrow
When the weather starts getting warmer, I find that I turn to some lighter reads -- some mom lit or chick lit, if you will. Since I had heard some good things about Catherine McKenzie's novels, I decided to try her latest ARRANGED.
ARRANGED tells the story of Anne a woman who seemingly has it all... except for the perfect guy. When Anne's latest relationship ends, Anne just happens to stumble upon a business card advertising what sounds like a dating service. She decides to call and discovers that it's not just any old dating service. Rather, it's a company that claims to successfully arrange marriages. Anne decides to give it a try since she's not having much luck on her own. When she finally meets her potential spouse Jack at a Mexican resort and marries him just a day later, she believes her life is complete; however, she quickly learns that things (and by that, I mean Jack) might not be what they initially seem.
I have seem some mixed reviews for ARRANGED around the blogosphere, but I have to say that I enjoyed this book. I probably wouldn't go so far as to say that I loved it, but I did think it was entertaining and a fun way to spend a few hours. I have to admit that I was initially drawn to the premise of this novel. For whatever reason, I've always been intrigued by the concept of arranged marriages; and I did think it was interesting how the book explored this topic. The book offered a unique look at the concepts of dating and marriage, and for that, I really appreciated how it approached these traditional relationships. It also gave me a thing or two to think about as far as how arranged marriages work in other cultures.
However, I will say that I did find the book (and especially the ending) to be kind of predictable despite the few twists. Having said that, I knew up front that this book was on the lighter side, so I wasn't disappointed when some of my ideas about the characters ended up coming to fruition. When I read fun stories about love and relationships, I guess I'm just a sucker for happy endings. Without giving too much away, let's just say I was okay with how things worked out for Anne.
Anne was a very sweet character and I do think she's one of the main reasons I enjoyed this novel as much as I did. Despite being successful in her friendships and her career, she still was kind of a mess as far as boyfriends go. I liked how the author contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of her character, and I especially appreciated how she was able to laugh at herself. I think many women will be able to relate to Anne -- either personally or because she will remind them of someone they know.
If I'm being entirely honest, I thought ARRANGED read like a movie. I don't mean that in a negative way at all. In fact, I often times like that in a story. I do think Ms. McKenzie did a great job of bringing the settings and the characters to life; and as a result, I could vividly "see" almost every scene in the novel. The characters, namely Anne and Jack, were especially alive in my mind; and I did think the author did a very good job creating the chemistry between them.
ARRANGED was a cute read and should appeal to fans of chick lit. I recommend it as a great addition to your beach or pool bag!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.