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The Arc

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My first impression of THE ARC

The first thing I noticed about The Arc was the lovely bright colourful design of the cover. I liked the artwork and the way that the characters were displayed. This was obviously going to be some sort of modern romantic story set in the digital age because it involved a dating service with an online link. I like these sort of stories because it makes me realise what life is like for young , single people in this day and age.

The plot

The Arc begins in New York City in 2018 which is before the pandemic and it reminds the reader of how things used to be not so long ago.

It is is the story of how a young woman tries to find love through an upmarket dating service named `The Arc'. This is not the same as any normal dating app though because it is upmarket and very expensive to join. This organisation is not for the faint hearted, or the tight fisted, because it costs forty thousand, five hundred dollars for women to join and fifty thousand for men. The price difference is based on gender wage gaps, apparently. They assume that people who would part with this sort of money to find love must be really genuine. The new members do not have to pay it all at once though because they pay a large percentage of the cost as a deposit at the start of the process, then the remainder can be found if they manage to find the love of their life and the relationship has worked after a certain amount of time.

The people who run this organisation promise to find their members the love of their lives, which is much the same for any dating company, but these people delve more into their members personality and other features.

Each new member has to spend several days and nights with the staff so that every detail can be noted. They are being monitored in every way imaginable 24/7 at The Arc headquarters by the charismatic staff and experts.

We follow two characters in the story through the early stages of their new romance after they are introduced to each other through The Arc. We find out how they get on with being monitored by the organisation because they are under contract to fill in monthly questionnaires online and four monthly face to face check ins with the staff at The Arc. They also have to be very secretive about what happens at The Arc because they had to sign an NDA at the start of the process.

The characters

The people in the story are , to start with, centred around the main character who is a thirty something female named Ursula. The characters include Ursula`s friend, her mother and the people she meets through her work.

Then throughout the story we slowly get to meet more characters

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Ursula

Ursula is one of the main characters in the story. She is thirty five years old, lives with a cat named Mallory and she is working for a Brand agency. She has also started a side line as a start up consultancy. She has recently started doing business with a very rich client and this is how she can afford the fee to become a member of The Arc.

We first meet Ursula when she is on her way home from yet another bad date. She has not had much luck with men and she has been in and out of relationships all her adult life.

Some time after this, she is in a steam room with her friend Issa and they are chatting about why Ursula has always been so unlucky in love. Their conversation is being overheard by another lady, who gives Ursula a business card advertising `The Arc'.

Rafael

Rafael is a lawyer in his early forties, he lives alone with a freezer full of twenty different flavours of ice cream. He has also been unlucky in love throughout his adult life, although he had been happy with some of his previous partners none of his relationships had ever been sustainable.

We first meet Rafael in chapter eleven when he has just received a letter from the people at The Arc. When he opens the letter , he sees a photo of Ursula along with her other details, it turns out that the experts at The Arc think that the two of them would make a good match.

He likes the idea of meeting Ursula and this is when the story really begins.

My opinion of The Arc

I really enjoyed reading this story because it has it`s funny moments but it also had a serious side. Of course a story about lonely people who are already into their middle years might not seem like everybody`s idea of fun, but the story has been written in such a way that the main characters do not seem pitiful or depressing, unlike similar characters have been in other novels..

There are not too many characters in the story, which I am glad about because stories that start with a lot of characters can get a bit confusing. The author has gone out of her way to describe each character in such a way that I felt like I knew them personally.

This was a story that I really got into and I found it hard to put down once I began reading it. Written by new author Tory Henwood Hoen, `The Arc ' is her first novel. I for one hope that she writes more novels in the future because I will certainly be looking out for more of her work.

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