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Arranged    by Catherine Mckenzie order for
by Catherine Mckenzie
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Arranged, a second novel by Catherine McKenzie has an interesting premise. The main character, Anne Blythe, is a woman in her early thirties who has become discouraged by her inability to find a life partner, get married, and have children. She has had four serious boyfriends over the years, but the relationships never worked out. She's beginning to think that this is her fault, especially after she runs into boyfriend number three, who told her in no uncertain terms that he just was not ready to settle down while they were dating, but married his next girlfriend less than a year later. Not only that, but he gets a call from his wife while Anne is talking to him, and he is obviously besotted with said wife.

Shortly after Anne breaks up with her most recent boyfriend because he has been unfaithful to her, she finds a card with the name of what she thinks is a dating service. She saves it because it's called Blythe and Company, and she thinks that might be a sign. When her best friend becomes engaged, she decides to act and calls the agency to set up an appointment. What she learns during the interview startles her because the agency is not a dating service, but rather arranges marriages between people who have never met. Anne decides to continue the process after much soul-searching, deciding that the agency's contention that friendship is more important in a marriage than love sounds reasonable. What she discovers about her arranged marriage and the agency turns out to be surprising.

I enjoyed this book, but I did have a few problems with it. Anne is an attractive, intelligent young woman who has several men show an interest in her as the story progresses. Her solution of going for the arranged marriage seemed wildly out of character, although this was her assessment too, in her frequent musings about why she was thinking of doing something so radical. Overall, though, Arranged is fun to read, with enough surprises to keep the reader interested right up to the satisfying conclusion.

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