Beyond Books


by Catherine McKenzie

Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she’s engaged, Anne can’t help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn’t a dating service; it’s an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company’s success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn’t it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out-until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all. (

Having ADORED Catherine McKenzie’s Spin earlier this year, I was more than happy to agree to review her latest US release on my blog. Her being a Montreal author made me want to support her from the start, but the love affair I had with Spin just made me want to promote the heck out of her even more.

I will say right off that I did not love this book nearly as much as I did Spin but I did enjoy it greatly.  Face it, there are very few books that ever reach that euphoric level of love with me like Spin did, so I’m not being negative about Arranged.

Catherine McKenzie has a sort of Sarah Addison Allen-esque way with characters. Characters that are real and tangible. Characters that have flaws but are still charming and warm. McKenzie’s stories have a lot of humour to them, too. Anne Blythe comes off the pages as funny and endearing through her inner monologues and outer dialogues with the other characters in the book.

I finished this book feeling happy. Happiness isn’t something that I have been feeling a lot of lately, but Arranged left me content and relaxed. I could see this book being one of those sappy, rom-com movies that you’d force your man to, but you’d probably both end up enjoying it. I know there are only so many ways to say that this book is funny and charming, but I can’t stop saying it because it’s 100% true.

Catherine McKenzie is officially an authors that I will always buy a book from in the future. She’s up there with Sarah Addison Allen but she gets extra points for being a Montrealer. 😉


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