Anne Blythe seems cursed from birth to expect a happy ever after. Named after the notorious Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, Anne’s desire to be saved from her mediocre life by prince charming is all-encompassing. Tired of falling for the same archetype over and over, Anne makes a call to a company whose card she stumbled upon in the streets. A little over a month later, she is flown to a gorgeous resort in Mexico to give her hand in marriage to Jack Harmer – a complete stranger.
Unsure of whether psychological testing, interest-probing and therapy is enough to match her to her soulmate, Anne remain skeptical, but oddly open to life with a man matched to her by an elite arranged marriage company. But when one lives in a relationship with so many questions floating in the newly populated air, there is bound to be a few surprises.
Arranged was an absolute pleasure to read. Anne was a modern woman in every sense of the word. There was so much inner dialogue in the book that mimicked how my own brain thinks (overly analytical). The constant battle of what IS and what is “supposed to be (like in the movies)” was a very realistic interpretation of women who grew up reading books like Anne of Green Gables and watching Beauty and the Beast one too many times. Anne drank a bit too much, worried over her job, pined for a life like her best friends, and was just too real not to love.
My heart flutters at these words, but I try to ignore it. What has my heart ever done for me?
Anne thinks this to herself at a peak part of the novel and I couldn’t help but nod. Yes. This is one of those “bottom of the bucket” thoughts that slip into us through the cracks of a broken heart.
The witty narration, the variety of personalities and the combination of whimsical romantic fantasies with the realistic life of a metropolitan woman made this book a total success with me. Perfect for a weekend away or a night in with a glass (or three) of wine!
(Also, Catherine McKenzie is Canadian. Yuusss!)