Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Matchmaking for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson

Lake Union Publishing, June 2018

Marnie MacGraw is engaged to marry Noah Spinnaker, when she meets his eccentric, unpredictable, matchmaker great-aunt Blix Holliday. Blix takes a liking to Marnie--a liking she doesn't have for her nephew, Noah. When her marriage to Noah comes crashing down around her while they're still on what was meant to be their honeymoon trip, Marnie goes home to Florida and her family, and tries to put the whole thing behind her.

Blix has other plans.

Blix told Marnie she was destined to have a "big life." Marnie doesn't want a "big life." She wants a husband and children. She's connected again with her old high school boyfriend, Jeremy, when she receives a lawyer letter telling her Blix has died, and she's inherited Blix's brownstone in Brooklyn, NY.

There are conditions, though, the most important of which is that she has to live in it for three months before getting full ownership.

Marnie hasn't just inherited Blix's brownstone. She's also inherited Blix's neighbors and friends, her "projects" who need a little help finding their way toward happiness. Blix told Marnie several times that she shares Blix's talent for matchmaking and magic. Marnie doesn't believe it. Yet, at certain times, she sees the golden sparkles...

Marnie is sweet, and kind, and wants happiness not just for herself, but for people around her. She also has a small gift for snark. This Nice Southern Girl doesn't know what to make of Brooklyn, where the buildings are old and well-worn, no one has a car and you have to shop every day, and you meet the most amazing diversity of people, just going about your daily business.

Meanwhile, her family is nagging her to just sell the building and come home, and her ex-husband, Blix's great-nephew, has settled in to Blix's apartment in the brownstone with her. He says he's taking classes; he seems unduly interested in why Blix decided to leave the building to her, rather than to her niece, Noah's mother, with whom she has always had a really bad relationship.

I'll just say right here that, if Marnie were a Sensible Northern Girl rather than a Nice Southern Girl, she'd have changed the locks on Noah, fairly early on. He's got nothing good to offer; he doesn't even like the dog who adopts her.

The tenants, Jessica and her son Sammy, and Patrick, the curmudgeonly ex-artist who was badly burned in a gas explosion, along with Blix's friend and neighbor Lola, and the bodega owner across the street, Paco, are all great characters who add to the flavor and enjoyment of the book.

This book is just a lot of fun. Recommended.

I bought this book.