Arranged as an impulse airport purchase. Well, it wasn't a planned purchase, but I had heard her interviewed on the CBC and planned to read the book at some point. And then I read it in a day and loved it. I generally don't enjoy Chick Lit, but for some reason read a few books in that genre every year. And books like Arranged are the reason why - they show what good Chick Lit can be - likable heroines, interesting and original plots. And so based on my reading of that book, I had planned on picking up her other books when I was looking for an easy but enjoyable read.
So... imagine my delight when Harper Collins e-mailed me back in August, asking if they could please send me a copy of her newest book to read and review! A book that I was planning to read (and probably buy) at some point, being sent to me for free!
I've had this book on my TBR stack for a while, but as I noted a few posts ago, my for-fun reading time has been somewhat limited this fall. But this week I am on vacation with a beach and sun and lots of time to read, so I packed several of the lighter reads from my TBR stack in my suitcase. This one was the first one up, and like Arranged, I polished it off in less than a day.
The premise in this one is very unique. Emma, the main character, travels to Africa (to the fictional country of Tswanaland) for a month after the death of her mother. She gets sick while there, and while recovering in a remote village, the country is hit by a devastating earthquake. She has no way to communicate with her friends back home to let them know that she is alive; no way to travel to the capital city; and no way to fly out of the country until the airport has been re-built. Fast-forward 6 months later and she arrives home to discover that she has been declared missing and presumed dead.
Can you imagine not having anywhere to live (her landlord got rid of her stuff and re-rented out her apartment), no job (she was a lawyer and lost all seniority as her cases got re-assigned), no boyfriend (he hooked up with her nemesis), and no mother, whose death she was trying to escape with her trip?
The premise intrigued me. Emma was a likable character. Not perfect, but very endearing. Dominic, the love interest (this is Chick Lit after all) is also likable. The emotions felt real as Emma dealt with the aftermath of her mother's death as well as the confusion of needing to start her life over again. The writing was solid (I was reading an Advance Reader's Copy - I'm assuming that the handful of typos were corrected before the book was released).
So... this book has not changed my opinion of Catherine McKenzie. I will continue to pick up her books when I am looking for something light and enjoyable!