Review: Arranged – Catherine McKenzie

(★★★★★ – 5 stars)

I absolutely LOVED this book in so many levels! 

Not only I found really well written and enjoyed the straight-forward romance story, but I found the message between the lines a helpful reminder to most of the women of this generation – that a girl does not need to be marry or have a man to be happy and successful.

If you haven’t read the book and you’re an eternal romantic, such as myself, you’re going to cherish this book! I can assure you! The instant chemistry between the main characters hooks us up into the story and gets us asking for a happy ending!

Is also an unexpected story, with a strange subject but one where you cannot know what’s going to happen next – trust me! I’ve read so many books in my life, I can figure them out pretty much by the second page most of the time! But that was not the case with Arranged, so well done Catherine!!!!

But let’s cut this review by the three parts I want to discuss: The WritingThe Story and The Message

THIS is the place where you STOP if haven’t read the book, because I can get some SPOILERS over the lines!

So, The Writing – in my opinion, pretty good! The author keeps us in the loop all the time without unnecessary information! She goes to the point, but give us the exact amount of descriptions that we are going to need in order to move forward and fall in love with a character or a situation!

I also like the timeline a lot! McKenzie does not give us unrealistic time tables here – things happen in their time and, as the characters, we have to be patient to get to the action – really good trick! She even keeps the main characters, Anne and Jack, apart for more than a year – time where they continue with their lives while coping with their feelings and failures in the meantime. 

They way the book is organized is simple for the reader to follow the different stages of Anne’s life and how this stages changed as she move forward. This help us get into the mood the author wants to set in every situation!

Then, there’s The Story – Hardcore ROMANCE without the oh-so-cheesy parts. And I’m gonna explain in detail – Anne is a romantic to her bones – named after a heroine in a classic romantic novel, she thinks her happy ending is settle. So, based on this, she picks her guys for all the wrong reasons – because she didn’t think she had to try that hard. I can relate to her in some level, since her type of man hits me pretty close (dark hair + blue eyes = yum! hahaha). But like most of us women, she’s deceived by this men and by herself so she gets tired of trying and decide that someone else is gonna call the shot for her – in this case, an arranged marriage’ agency.

Let’s not be to hard on Anne, after all she lives in a society where if you’re over 30 (she’s 33) and you’re not married, you’re as good as dead (at least if you’re a women) – Her brother, her best friends, her mother and even some of her ex-boyfriends point that out at along the book. So she feels corned and gets desperate – and desperate times call for desperate measures = ARRANGED MARRIAGE to a complete stranger. We can see how she’s struggling with her decision even after she mets Jack and feels how compatible they are.

The story flows from how they seem so perfect for each other and your think “how this kind of things can work out at the end?” – to the part where she figures out everything is a lie and her husband is not who she thinks he is – to finally land in how some people who shouldn’t be falling in love end completely mad about each other.

I also liked the fact that, while they’re together and everything seems great, the main characters continue their work, friends, families and lives as they have them before the marriage, something I really appreciate in a book.

Last but not least, The Message! Is the thing a loved the most about this book. Like I said early in the post, not only Anne but all of us, we’re all leaving in a society where marriage is such a big deal – where if you don’t achieve it at certain age you’re getting behind the line and everything (and everyone) around you are constantly reminding you how lonely you supposedly are or going to be in the future. And this drives a sane person to do something they wouldn’t have  ever done, like an arranged marriage. And don’t get me wrong, this is something that works for some cultures and I’m not jugging it – but is not the same when you do it because is a tradition (and if you are 100% willing to do it, in the first place) then when you do it out of insecurities and fears (installed there even by your own mother).

I’m also not saying “let’s not get marry anymore” because I totally respect the institution and, again, if is something you do from the bottom of your heart then go for it! 

My point, and the reason I absolutely adored this book, is that you have to be happy with yourself first, feel accomplished with what you’ve done on you own and only THEN share this happiness with someone else who celebrates it and wants it too. I truly believe this is the great message in this book.

Wow – I think I got really inspired by this one! Hahaha
Hope you guys have enjoyed it and, as always, you’re more than welcome to let me know in here ⬇️

See you between the pages!
Trish
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