Monday, May 14, 2012
The US makes a date with "Arranged," plus a book giveaway
First Catherine McKenzie brought her debut novel, "Spin" to the US earlier this year. Now she's delivering another amazing story across the border. Melissa A. got to read "Arranged" in 2011 and LOVED it. She's confident all US chick lit fans will love it too, so we're sharing her review right here. And HarperCollins is sharing a copy of "Arranged" with a lucky US reader.
You can find out more about Catherine McKenzie on her website and at Facebook and Twitter.
Review of "Arranged" by Catherine McKenzie
By Melissa Amster
January 12, 2011
The topic of arranged marriages is something I'm familiar with from my Jewish heritage. I personally can't attest to them, but I know they had them back in the day. (Think "Fiddler on the Roof.") There are still shadchens (matchmakers) who operate today to arrange a proper shidduch (match for marriage). In Orthodox Judaism, there are also shorter courtships and engagements, as a couple is not supposed to so much as hold hands until they marry. So, the concept of Catherine McKenzie's latest book, "Arranged," interested me because it was about an arranged marriage. True, it was done in a different way and had nothing to do with religion or culture. Still, it was a fascinating story and nearly impossible to put down.
Anne Blythe, fresh out of a long term relationship, comes across a business card with her last name on it. She pockets it for luck and goes on her way to meet her friend for drinks. When her friend later announces that she is engaged, Anne decides to contact the company, which she assumes is a dating service. Much to her surprise, she finds out that they specialize in arranged marriages and are both confidential and expensive. She decides to go through the series of tests and they find her a match. Over the course of one week in Mexico, she meets and marries the man with whom they have paired her, much to the shock and concern of her family and friends back home. After a few weeks of marital bliss, Anne learns a new truth about her husband that changes everything about their marriage. Can she still fall in love after her trust has been betrayed?
I loved everything about this novel. It was fresh, clever, funny and Anne was so easy to relate to, even though I probably fit more into the role of her best friend. It's not often that an author can help me get inside a main character's head so well that I feel like I am that character while I am reading the story. The supporting characters are also well written and realistic and the dialogue is natural and honest. I even enjoyed the pop culture references peppered throughout (such as one about a V.C. Andrews novel). I have been recommending it to my friends even after reading the first 30 pages. I think anyone who wants a good dose of chick lit with an extra helping of substance will devour this novel in one sitting.
Special thanks to HarperCollins for sharing "Arranged" with one of our readers. We're already looking forward to when "Forgotten" will arrive in the US!
How to win "Arranged":
Please choose ONE of these questions to answer. (One entry per person. Additional answers will not count as bonus points.)
1. What is your favorite thing from Canada (celebrity, television show, author, food item, etc.)?
2. Would you enter into an arranged marriage if you had the opportunity? Why?
3. What about this review speaks to you the most?
US only. Giveaway ends May 20th at midnight EST.