by Kelly Harms
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Lily Stewart has reached a crossroads in her life. Her painting career hasn't taken off, her best friend has changed beyond recognition, her relationship is a constant disappointment, and now she can't keep up with the rising cost of living in the city. With no one to turn to, Lily is forced to move from her beloved apartment, but while packing she comes across a piece of mail that had slipped to the back of her junk drawer: a letter detailing further action needed to finalize the annulment of a quickie Vegas wedding. From ten years ago!
Lily decides it's time to gather up the pieces of her life, and the first item on her list of things to fix is that annulment... but you can't just send a text ten years later reading, "Hey BTW we are still married." This is something that must be addressed in person, so Lily decides to track down her husband - the charming, enigmatic man she connected with all those years ago.
Ben Hutchinson left a high-profile dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small lake town he loves, Minnow Bay. He's been living off the grid with the express purpose of making it hard to be found—so the last thing he expects is a wife he didn't know he had making her presence known.
I don’t normally draw parallels, but think Mary Kay Andrews, or Jennifer Crusie minus the purposeful hilarity, and you have a good idea of what The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay is going to deliver.
Lily is one of those artists who has the potential to make it big, but she’s a doormat; a cheerful, I-just-want-everybody-to-be-happy, doormat. Normally I’d have tossed this book aside because I don’t like reading about doormats, but Lily never wallowed, so that during the clueless stage of the story the irritating bits washed over me.
While packing to move out of her apartment, Lily stumbles across a 10 year old notice from Nevada telling her the annulment she applied for is incomplete. She’s been married to a guy she can’t even remember for a decade, and of course she’s feeling all her shortcomings, so determines to go to Minnow Bay to apologise in person and fix things. This is when she has her “I’m a doormat” epiphany, and while her turnaround is a work in progress, her wry humor about herself and the way she owns up to her shortcomings made it easy for me to relate to her and like her more than I normally would.
Added to her likeable qualities are the characters of Minnow Bay, all of whom are poster-small-town-perfect and quite a lot of them the kind I wish I had for neighbours. Colleen and Jenny’s antics trying to keep Lily in Minnow Bay are funny and Simone is acerbic but hilarious.
I thought the writing really readable and I easily finished it yesterday afternoon and evening; it’s not a long book and the engaging narrative sucked me in. I’m not sure I’d say it’s worth the sticker price, but it’s definitely worth the used bookshop price (in hardcover) and I thought it was a fun read, perfect for the mood I was in.
Total pages: 280