Book Review

The Arc

The Arc

  • Author: Tory Henwood Hoen
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2022 
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

35-year-old Ursula Byrne, VP of Strategic Audacity at a branding agency in Manhattan, is successful, witty, whip-smart, and single. She’s tried all the dating apps, and let’s just say: she’s underwhelmed by her options. You’d think that by now someone would have come up with something more bespoke; a way for users to be more tailored about who and what they want in a life partner–how hard could that be?

Enter The Arc: a highly secretive, super-sophisticated matchmaking service that uses a complex series of emotional, psychological and physiological assessments to architect partnerships that will go the distance. The price tag is high, the promise ambitious–a level of lifelong compatibility that would otherwise be unattainable. In other words, The Arc will find your ideal mate.

Ursula is paired with 42-year-old lawyer Rafael Banks. From moment one, this feels like the electric, lasting love they’ve each been seeking their whole adult lives. But as their relationship unfolds in unanticipated ways, the two begin to realize that true love is never a sure thing. And the arc of a relationship is never predictable…even when it’s fully optimized.

This was such an intriguing idea for a story, and it kind of reminded me a tiny bit of The Soulmate Equation, in the way it endeavored to find the perfect match for participants. However, it was a lot different in the execution, and the story was fresh and interesting, with likable characters.

The first thing that I noticed was that I absolutely adored Ursula. She’s the kind of character that I want to just pull out of a book and beg her to be my friend. With the perfect mixture of quirky weirdness, determination, staunch feminism, and brilliance, she would be just the kind of person I want to surround myself with. I couldn’t help but laugh at her antics and all the strange things that she does. It was incredibly endearing, although her roadblocks to love are front and center as well.

So when The Arc presents her with an opportunity that she’s primed to take advantage of, it’s no surprise to see her jump at the chance. And I was so happy to see how well things worked out between her and Rafael. The way that they connected made my heart sing! Although it made me think … how much of that connection was the predetermined expectations that they had, having been assured that THIS WAS THE ONE? 

This clearly seemed to good to be true. And I was already expecting something to come along and mess it up. So it wasn’t a surprise when this happened. But what was a surprise was the pacing. It was a lot slower than I expected. The story dragged in parts, especially in the middle parts of the story. While I did enjoy a lot of the story, it felt as though it could haven’t been a lot shorter. 

Overall, the concept, the characters, and the emotional plot was good. Since I listened to this as an audiobook, the narrator, Mary Elizabeth Kelly, did a great job with this. She had me laughing more than once, picturing the hilarious and awkward situations that occurred throughout the story, and conveyed the characters easily and convincingly. But it was a long story, and the pacing wasn’t consistent, with some very predictable twists to it. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t an enjoyable story.

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