Arranged by Catherine McKenzie | Book Review

20130709-165427.jpgBook Title/Author: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
: William Morrow 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance – “Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy”
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Spin, Forgotten, Hidden

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I got this out from the library!






Anne Blythe is by all means a successful — she’s in her early 30’s, she’s got a great job as a columnist for a magazine, she’s working on a deal for her book and she’s got a great social circle. The only thing she is missing is that special someone to share her life with. She’s had her share of bad relationships and the latest one ended in her leaving him because he cheated. On her way to start her new life alone she comes across a business card for what appears to be a dating service for when she decides she may be up for dating again. Anne hits rock bottom when her best friend gets engaged and she feels like she is going to be forever alone so she decides to call the dating service and see what happens. What Anne finds is that it is actually a very exclusive service that isn’t there to get you a date but rather to find you a husband — it’s an arranged marriage service that comes with a hefty price tag. She thinks it is absurd at first but after a lot of thought and research she decides to give it a go and soon she’s on her way to Mexico to meet and marry her husband.

I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie on the beach and it was SUCH a perfect beach read. I originally had her novel Spin as a pick on my Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag list but it came into the library too late so I picked this one up since it was available! It was so FUN and such a deliciously good page turner and I enjoyed every single page!

Arranged is told in 3 parts and I don’t even know which one is my favorite. Part 1 is learning about Anne’s love life and her finding out about this whole process and agreeing to it. I was certainly plenty intrigued about the whole service and how it works though I, like Anne, was very skeptical. Part 2 is Mexico which was equally, if not more,  compelling as she meets her husband. As a reader, I was so eager to see if there would be chemistry between them and how awkward it would be. Part 3 is life AFTER the resort and that is where it gets to be even more of a juicier page-turner.

It was easy for me to feel for Anne. Sure, I met Will when I was 21 but pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and I was just bouncing around so I always felt like an old maid. I know lots of people in Anne’s position — she’s in her early 30’s, doesn’t have a serious relationship and all her friends are getting married and having kids. It’s hard to feel like you are stuck in a whole other universe while all your friends are “moving on.” I felt that when we were the only unmarried couple in our group. I could feel Anne’s desire for what her friends had — true love — and I love how this story was so honest & funny about the things we do to find love. While most of us probably have not considered  arranged marriages, we’ve all done something or ignored something in our quest for love.

The writing was very accessible and straightforward which was perfect for a beach read and had characters that were easy to relate to but not in an obvious way. I was taken off guard by something that happened in Part 3 (I didn’t read the summary of this book closely) but after that I found that it remained pretty predictable to what I expect like how it is when I’m watching a romantic comedy and I didn’t mind that. I rooted for Anne the whole way through to find her true love and her story, while unconventional, was something I could relate to and loved watching unravel.

Ultimately Arranged was the fun, breezy romantic comedy I had hoped it would be for a beach read but I was really impressed with the smart and honest insights into the ups and downs of finding someone to love and loving– desire, loneliness, being vulnerable, trusting after you’ve been hurt, etc. It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner. It was a very unique and unconventional love story and I enjoyed it so much! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy or a good beach read!



Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Did you like it, dislike it or feeling mixed about it? Did you see THE BIG THING coming? I just didn’t (but I also didn’t read the summary). Have you read any of her other books?? Which one should I read next? I have Spin from the library now so I’ll probably start there!


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Yay! I’m so glad you chose this one and that it was the beach read you were hoping for! I definitely liked this one more than Spin. Catherine McKenzie is one of my favourite Canadian authors and I think you will love her other books as well. Forgotten was definitely one of my favourites of all her books! And Hidden was the most recent, and I think it’s completely different from her other books, it’s darker and definitely had a lot of things I didn’t see coming! I hope you read more from Catherine!

    • I will definitely be reading more of her books!! I will perhaps save Forgotten for last if it was your fave! Next up, Spin!

  2. I liked this book but I think I was expecting more from it. Most of the novels featuring arranged marriage that I’ve read in the past were either historical or contemporary novels that featured Indian women. My own parents have an arranged marriage and tried to talk me into that when I was in my 20s. Now that I’m in my 30s I have to admit to being tempted by the idea as I watch my 40s approach and want to get married and maybe have kids. Still I balk at the idea. I wouldn’t have the guts to do what Anne did (or the money to pay for it)!

    The book did remind me a little bit of Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night because of the hasty marriage. I kept waiting for the impending disaster to happen. I do think there are better books that look more realistically at arranged marriage but in the end I think this was a pretty thoughtful book about what people want in a marriage.

  3. This book sounds great! I don’t think I’ve read anything by this author, but I kind of want to after seeing what the book’s about and your thoughts on it.

  4. Yay! I’m SO glad you liked this! This is by far one of my favourite books and Catherine is one of my favourite authors. This is also a book that I try to push on everyone because it can appeal to everyone. I’d say it’s the most rom-com/beach reads of Catherine’s books but I love all her others. In order of favourites: Arranged, Hidden, Forgotten, Spin. But I do love them all! Enjoy the next ones you read by her! 🙂

  5. While I haven’t read Arranged nor Spin, I have read Forgotten and had some good laughs from it. I think you will really enjoy it!

  6. I knew I wanted to read this book the second I saw you mention it on Twitter. It sounds like exactly the sort of book I would enjoy! 🙂 I can’t wait to pick this one up as soon as possible as it sounds like it would make the perfect addition to my summer reading list.

    Lovely review, as always, Jamie! 😀

  7. I think this is my favorite Catherine McKenzie book. Spin was good, too, but it was a little more…generic, I guess. Forgotten was good, but not as good as the other two, IMO.

  8. i am glad you liked this book! i liked Forgotten better, but this was such a fantastic premise & execution. i’m hoping to read Spin soon.

  9. I’m so glad you liked this one! Catherine McKenzie is one of my favourite Canadian authors. 🙂 If you liked this one, try giving Spin a try. It’s really good as well!

  10. I think Arranged and Forgotten are my favorite McKenzie reads. I haven’t read Hidden yet, but I have it on my wishlist. I love that her books are easy to read, but at the same time have great depths to the characters. Readers really fall in love with them. Glad you enjoyed this one.


  1. […] ● Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner wrote “It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner.” (Read the rest of the review Here!) […]

  2. […] by Catherine McKenzie: I had randomly come across her book Arranged while browsing the library and I loved it (adult contemporary fiction about a girl who gives an […]