All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Matchmakers Of Minnow Bay by Kelly Harms

on August 9, 2016

Matchmakers Of Minnow BayThe Matchmakers Of Minnow Bay 
Kelly Harms
St Martin’s Press
2016, 288p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

A young painter, Lily has reached a crossroads in her life. Her career hasn’t taken off, her best friend may no longer be the trusted friend she thought, her boyfriend is a 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. Ten years ago!

Lily decides it’s time to turn over a new leaf and the first item on her list of things to fix is getting the annulment… but you can’t just send a reply ten years later, “Hey by the way we are still married.” This is something that must be addressed in person. Lily takes to the road to track down her husband – the charming, fun, and sexy man she connected with all those years ago – Ben Hutchinson.

Ben Hutchinson left a wealthy dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small town he loves, Minnow Bay. He’s been living off the grid and the last thing he expects is a wife he didn’t know he had to show up on his doorstep.

By chance, Lily arrives at the magical Minnow Bay Inn, and there she will discover not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, a thriving art community, and maybe even the love of her life.

Lily’s life is a disaster. She’s still living the same way that she was as a university student over a decade ago, barely making rent. Her friend thinks that if she hasn’t made it by now then perhaps it’s time to give up the art, get a respectable job and grow up a bit. When Lily finds a document she never filed to annul a fun Vegas wedding years ago, she decides that she’s going to track her husband down and sort everything out in person. Maybe a trip to Minnow Bay, Wisconsin where her estranged ‘husband’ now lives, will help her figure out her life.

I found Lily quite a frustrating character at times because she was so content to let others dictate things to her. She has a sort-of boyfriend who is quite clearly screwing her money-wise and who treats her like a dirty secret he’s ashamed of but she continually makes excuses for him and refuses to see what is so obvious. Her best friend Renee is about fed up with her paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle and also clearly harbours some resentment toward Lily, who dated Renee’s husband before she married him. It comes out at the worst moments, such as when Lily needs somewhere to live and is refused – this is her best friend. She’s also critical when Lily decides to go to Minnow Bay and when she seems to be carving out a bit of a niche for herself there as well.

I loved the idea of the whole Vegas wedding on a whim – both Lily and Ben are visiting Vegas, Lily for Renee’s bachelorette party and she decides to kind of beat Renee at something and her and Ben marry for fun, never intending for it to be serious. However Lily forgets to complete the paperwork to annul the marriage and realises that she’s been legally married for 10 years – and so has Ben. The possible ramifications of this could be huge, especially if Ben has married again in the past decade, believing that he’s free to. He’s an intensely private person but Lily does some pretty impressive detective work and manages to track him down so that she can explain everything, get it all sorted and then move on with the next stage of her life.

In arriving in Minnow Bay, Lily meets Colleen, inn keeper and Jenny, her best friend who happens to run a gallery. Jenny is immediately taken with some of Lily’s work and is very sure she can get good prices for them – so good in fact that Lily smells a rat. Either Jenny has no idea what she’s talking about or she’s being ripped off by her boyfriend back home and that’s something that definitely warrants some investigating. Lily finds herself falling into an easy friendship with the women and even more than that, falling into an easy lifestyle in Minnow Bay. She has a place to create and an idea. When they find out the story, it seems like the whole town wants to push Ben and Lily together, not help facilitate the annulment.

I loved the small town of Minnow Bay – it seemed like a beautiful place to live although the Aussie in me definitely struggled with the thought of the snow! I also liked the person Lily evolved into, the more time she spent there. Prior to going there, she was in a rut, surviving by the skin of her teeth, whining about a lot of things and really going nowhere. The trip to Minnow Bay seems to shake her into action and she begins taking control of her life and her career. She doesn’t just coast along anymore.

I’d have liked a bit more romance, Ben is as expected, not entirely thrilled to find out that the annulment never went through all those years ago. He’s become quite reclusive, despite the best efforts of the locals and there are times when he’s abrupt and not really that likable (although I did really like him in the Vegas flashbacks). I think I’d have liked some more scenes between him and Lily, but so much was about Lily’s growth and finding some faith in herself and her abilities, so that I enjoyed. More romance would’ve been a bonus.


Book #134 of 2016


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