The concept of this debut by Tory Henwood Hoen intrigued me, and the story had a slight futuristic feel. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my gifted e-copy.
SUMMARY: 35-year-old Ursula Byrne, VP of Strategic Audacity at a Manhattan branding agency, is tired of dating apps and all the strike-outs she’s had in the dating world. She signs up with The Arc, a specialized matchmaking service which promises to match her with her perfect partner. A weeks’ worth of psychological, emotional and physical tests later, The Arc team matches her with lawyer Rafael Banks. Although their relationship starts off with a bang, they encounter hiccups along the way, making each of them question: in a world where you can enhance and perfect pretty much anything, does that include love?
THOUGHTS: I loved this author’s outlook on our commercialised, consumer society and our incessant demand for everything in our lives to be the best it can be. This high-concept romance story peppered with satire made me laugh in some places, particularly the way some products are branded and what people do in the name of self-care–Henwood Hoen takes those things to another level. I did feel the amount of backstory threw off some of the pacing, and in some places the 3rd-person omniscient POV made the characters feel distant, but I can appreciate how much work Henwood Hoen did to create such complex characters. Most importantly, I loved the main themes threaded through this book: how no amount of analysis or science can orchestrate lasting relationships nor keep them from succeeding. Relationships–and the people in them–are messy, real, and worth fighting for, no matter what the data says.
Photo credit: Elena Putina