Review: Arrangement from the Ashes by Danae Ayusso

Arrangement from the Ashes by Danae Ayusso
Series: A Modern Fairy Tale Collection Book (# 3)
Release Date: December 21, 2013
Publisher: Geeks on Ink
Pages: 273
Source:  book provided by the author for review



Sonomi “Snow” Tanaka was orphaned when she was barely a teenager, leaving her in the care of her only living family: her grandmother. In order to secure her parents legacy, Snow dedicated the last three years to doing just that, and everything was going according to plan until her grandmother passed away. In the will it stated that everything Snow owned and held dear was being held in the name of Mr. & Mrs. Fridrik Jóns, a man she had never met, but was being forced to marry in order to keep her family heirlooms. Leaving everything she had ever known behind, she boarded a plane in Seattle and flew to Reykjavík, Iceland, in order to meet the man that she was being forced to marry.

Fridrik “Drik” Jóns wanted no part of an arranged marriage. For years he went out of his way to be denounced by the Unification Church in order to prevent being forced into marriage, but his attempts were in vain when he overheard a call from America to his mother, stating that his bride would be flying in soon. Drik didn’t want to marry a stranger, and the timing couldn’t have been worse: the Olympics were only months away and it was his chance at redemption for the Vancouver Olympics four years prior.

It wasn’t a story book fairy tale, and it surely wasn’t love at first sight. Neither could stand the other, they fought often, but quickly a friendship based on presumed commonality was found, and soon Snow found herself falling for the “brother” of the man she was supposed to marry. Drik knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell Snow the truth: that he was Fridrik and not his stunningly handsome brother that had an arranged marriage as well.

When the truth comes out, will Snow forgive Drik or will she be boarding a plane back to Seattle alone and questioning everything she thought she knew and felt towards the man that deceived her, hurting her in ways that the men that took her parents from her never could?

Review: I found Ms. Ayusso’s story Arrangement from the Ashes to be a superb story that transcends those boundaries that are put up due to culture, religious, monetary and racial differences.

Knowing that there is still culture’s that arrange marriages in modern day still doesn’t make me like it. We each are entitled to our own opinions. However I found myself quickly forgetting that this was an arranged marriage as I started looking at the bigger picture.

To me the bigger picture didn’t involve the whole religion/arranged marriage to me it was so much more. It was about fate. It wasn’t about doing what was expected but rather doing what made you feel …life….happiness; following your dream so that you can become who you are meant to be.

For Sonomi Tanka or Snow to her friends, finding out about an arranged marriage after your only surviving relative dies is not easy to swallow no matter how old you are. Also if she doesn’t follow her grandmother’s wishes it would mean losing everything she held dear; this just to follow the church’s ruling on the arranged marriage. She just wanted the kind of love that her parents had. Not being forced to marry someone because the church or their religion says they have to. Or because the head of this religious cult chooses for you and it is something you must do. But, just for love.

On the other hand we have Fridrik from Iceland who was at twenty one is just finding out that he is to marry this girl from the states. He’s much too free spirited to get married. He has the Olympics to train for after all.  Off to a very rocky start for these two, right?

As they get to know each other outside the bounds of an ‘arranged marriage’ they actually find a friendship that extends past the color, culture, monetary, and social limitations. Past what is expected of them.  Ms. Ayusso brought an understanding of what it is like to come up against obstacle when falling in love. By putting together two very diverse cultures (Dirk ~ Icelandic and very white and Snow ~ part Japanese/part African) and making it work despite the odds.

I rather enjoyed the way she told the story adding in all the extra things about Snow’s parents. Bringing allot of warmth into the story.  There were also some elements of surprise to the story that were delightful.

It has been a long time since a story has grabbed me the way Ms. Ayusso’s Arrangement from the Ashes did. The way the characters were full of life as they shared of themselves and opened up to each other. The magic of friendship and love, of running the gamut of emotions and getting me all fired up for a cause. I laughed…cried…got angry…felt the despair…the love…the friendship and felt strongly for a cause.
This is a keeper; a book that you will want to share just because…

So settle in for a wonderful love story that you won’t want to see end.