Matchmaking For Beginnersby Maddie Dawson (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Lake Union Publishing on June 1, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, Humor, Magical Realism, Romance
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
I really loved Maddie Dawson’s previous book, The Survivor’s Guide To Family Happiness, so I just knew that I had to dig into her next novel. Matchmaking For Beginners is full of warmth amongst the dark times, finding joy in the bad, and finding strength in times of helplessness. Twenty-nine year old Marnie thinks her life is on track. She’s getting married to an exciting man she thinks is the man of her dreams, and she’s happy being a kindergarten teacher’s aide in California. But when her fiancé Noah tries to dump her at the altar, she somehow talks him into going through with the marriage anyway–only for their nuptials to last two whole weeks.
Noah’s great-aunt Blix, the outsider-by-choice in their rich, privileged family, takes to Marnie as soon as they meet at a family party. While Blix sees that Marnie has the same special, magical gift of seeing who belongs with each other by reading their auras, Marnie isn’t so sure that she has any matchmaking abilities–especially when she can’t even hold on to the man that was supposed to love her forever. But Blix is keeping a secret from her estranged family, and it’s one that’s slowly killing her. Blix isn’t ready to die yet, but she also isn’t willing to go through the pain of chemotherapy just to live a little bit longer.
Told from the perspectives of Blix and Marnie, I really loved both and enjoyed the easy and hard choices that they each had to make. Blix is such a naturally caring, helpful woman, and I really loved meeting her and her long-time boyfriend Houndy along with their eclectic brownstone full of people and love. It’s apparent that the entire neighborhood loved Blix, and Marnie comes to find this while she’s living in Blix’s brownstone so she can inherit the property. And unknown to Marnie, Blix has seen that Marnie is a perfect match for the tenant in the basement apartment–reclusive Patrick. Even though Blix had her ulterior motives, she just wanted happiness for everyone that she loved, and she believed that Marnie could be the one to bring it all together.
Marnie seems to have an idea of what she wants in life, but are those things actually good for her? After the disaster with Noah, she finds herself back in her childhood room in Florida and dating her high school boyfriend–who’s even more boring as a adult than he was back then. But when she goes to Brooklyn for Blix’s will, she finds that she just might be meant to be there in that charming yet a bit rundown brownstone, and her gold digging ex-husband still needs to be kicked to the curb as he squats in his great aunt’s home.
I give Matchmaking For Beginners a 4.5 out of 5. I loved the quirky, flawed characters that had great development throughout. The plot wasn’t too predictable–even with two main characters that could predict who was perfect for each other. Blix was such a great character and I wish we got more from her while she was alive, and Patrick was so great once he started to warm up to Marnie. The quaint Brooklyn neighborhood was brought to life so vividly that I felt like I’ve been there before, and it made me feel so much more at home with this book and it’s fantastic cast of characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves light-hearted contemporary romances or books with a bit of magical realism thrown in.
Find MATCHMAKING FOR BEGINNERS
About Maddie Dawson
Maddie Dawson grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers. Her various careers as a substitute English teacher, department-store clerk, medical-records typist, waitress, cat sitter, wedding-invitation-company receptionist, nanny, day care worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco maker were made bearable by thinking up stories as she worked. Today she lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband. She’s the bestselling author of five previous novels: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness, The Opposite of Maybe, The Stuff That Never Happened, Kissing Games of the World, and A Piece of Normal.
Connect with Maddie Dawson
Maddie Dawson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for MATCHMAKING FOR BEGINNERS:
Instagram tour stops:
Monday, May 28th: @girlsinbooks
Monday, May 28th: @booknerdingout
Tuesday, May 29th: @createexploreread
Wednesday, May 30th: @beccasbookishlife
Thursday, May 31st: @spinatale
Friday, June 1st: @bribookishconfessions
Saturday, June 2nd: @ladyofthelibrary
Saturday, June 2nd: @jessislibrary
Sunday, June 3rd: @chaptershoe
Review tour stops:
Monday, May 28th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, May 29th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, May 29th: BookNAround
Wednesday, May 30th: What is That Book About – guest post
Thursday, May 31st: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, June 1st: Not in Jersey
Monday, June 4th: Snowdrop Dreams
Tuesday, June 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, June 6th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, June 7th: Books a la Mode – guest post
Friday, June 8th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, June 11th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, June 11th: Laura’s Reviews
Tuesday, June 12th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Wednesday, June 13th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, June 14th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, June 18th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, June 19th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, June 21st: Chick Lit Central – author Q&A
Thursday, June 21st: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, June 25th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, June 27th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit