Monday, May 14, 2012

The US makes a date with "Arranged," plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

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.


Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

1. I like poutine the best from Canada - oh, and all the amazing friends I have up there! ;)

This book looks good!!

amber_johnson2004 at yahoo dot com

Nina said... favorite thing from Canada...gotta go with Celine!!! Hahaha. :)

Heather said...

My favorite thing from Canada would have to be the friends I have there!
This book seems to be about a subject that isn't covered often - love that!
Goweezie at aol dot com

Stephanie said...

My favorite author from Canada is Kelley Armstrong.

jennyd said...

I dont think I could enter an arranged marriage, but I love the premis of this book!

Linda Kish said...

Favorite thing about Canada..Alex Trebek

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sheena said...

Favorite thing about Canada, Bryan Adams. Love his music!


Cyndee said...

I like: Celine Deion, Ann Murray, Michael J.Fox, Friends that live there, The Royal Visits by England's British Monarchy, Past Olympics in Winter. This book has me thinking of my friends from India. It was an arranged marriage and they fell madly in love after. The subject matter is never brought up much.The review touched me with the pop culture parts in the book.. it keeps it current for the times.
Cyndee Thomas

Margie said...

This book sounds very intriguing. I may have to read it just to find out the secret Anne found out about her new husband! Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

My favorite thing from Canada is my husband.

Sandra Niedzwiedz-Gray said...

I like the people I've met.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing about Canada is Nova Scotia.


Erica said...

I loved Quebec City!

wordywon AT gmail DOT com

bn100 said...

My favorite thing from Canada is Celine Dion.

I follow the blog.


Unknown said...

I am goign to Canada this summer, so until then, my favorite thing about Canada is Nathan Fillion (Castle).

I would not enter an arranged marriage...the journey of finding my husband (and getting to know and love him) was TOO MUCH fun!

Greta review, but you had me at Catherine McKnesie. I read Spin a few months ago and LOVED it!


Colleen Turner said...

I don't think I could ever agree to an arranged marriage! I think the fact that I didn't pick the person would always be in the back of my mind, even if I ended up really liking them.

Cher B said...

Hard to pick one favorite thing from Canada- so many amazing entertainers and writers hail from our northern neighbor, but perhaps I'll go with Ryan Gosling (yes, anytime). I do love Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, and I very much enjoyed Catherine McKenzie's first novel, Spin. Looking forward to reading Arranged!


bas1chs said...

Pick one of my favorite things from Canada? Um the actors! I've had a crush on Joshua Jackson since Dawson's Creek and just keep seeing more and more of those lovely Canadians on TV and in movies! LOL

bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

I would definitely never enter an arranged marriage. Why would I want to spend my life with someone who I don't even know and who could end up being a horrible person? Marriage is not a business arrangement! Thank you for the opportunity to win this. I've been wanting to read it since reading Spin over a year ago :)


Janice said...

My favorite author is Louise Penny, a fantasic mystery writer. But my favorite thing about Canada are two places, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. LOVE the place and the people, the land, the water, the puffins, the whales, the animals, the hiking, the adventure, the sheer beauty of the land.

karenk said...

from the national anthem.

thanks for the chance to read this novel.

i'm a follower, too.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jeryl M. said...

My favorite thing about Canada is the stadium where the Toronto Blue Jays play which used to be called Sky Dome and also Martin Brodeur and all the New Jersey Devil players from Canada.

Bridget O'Neill said...

My favorite thing about Canada would have to be the two Ryans (Reynolds and Gosling)!