Welcome to one of stops on the Thomas Allen & Son blog tour for Maddie Dawson’s latest adult fiction release, Matchmaking for Beginners! Read on for my thoughts on the novel as well as giveaway information!
Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son. Thank you!
Publication: June 1, 2018 by Lake Union Publishing (imprint of Amazon/Brilliance)
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.
But no. It’s true. Marnie MacGraw is just like the old, glorious me, standing there, facing this onslaught of Southern gentility, and I see her both young and old, and feel my own heart pounding like it used to.
Come over here, sweetheart, I beam toward her.
So this- this- is why I’m here. It wasn’t to give some closure to years of family strife. It wasn’t to drink these absurd cocktails or even to revisit my roots.
I was meant to meet Marnie MacGraw.
Author Maddie Dawson’s latest adult fiction novel, Matchmaking for Beginners, takes readers deep into the lives of two women at very different junctures in their lives, Blix Holliday and Marnie MacGraw. A meant-to-be meeting between Blix and Marnie sparks off an incontestable and extraordinary bond and friendship of souls that comes to transform each of their lives.
Told in rotating first-person narratives for the first half of the novel, readers get to meet both Marnie and Blix in quick succession. Marnie is on her way to meet her soon-to-be-husband’s family. Noah Spinnaker, Marnie’s extremely handsome fiancé, has quite a family, but there is one relative in particular that captures Marnie’s thoughts and attention: his great-aunt Blix, estranged fro the family, living in Brooklyn, and considered to be a loose-cannon…and possibly a spell-making witch (Which…well, the marvelous Blix kind of is!…). From Blix’s vantage point, readers dive into Blix’s uncensored thoughts about her great-nephew Noah, her immediately felt, inextricable connection to Marnie, her belief in genuine kinds of magic…and perhaps most pressing, Blix’s firm comprehension (her innate and not-of-this-world matchmaking sense has never been wrong) that Noah and Marnie are absolutely not meant to be together and will not make it as a married couple. As is outlined briefly in the book’s description, readers are aware of the fact that Blix is nearing the end of her life. Up to her final moments, Blix remains firm in her conviction that Marnie is a kind of soulmate: that Marnie will end up living a happy and full, always surprising life Brooklyn and finally meet the man that is really and truly worthy of her and meant for her.
Losing touch with Blix after her and Noah’s flop of wedding, and even more disastrous honeymoon that ends in a split, Marnie is completely shocked to find that life has thrown her yet another curveball: Blix has left her entire Brooklyn brownstone to Marnie in her will. Reeling from that news- and in a tentative new relationship in her Floridian hometown- Marnie makes the decision to travel to Brooklyn in an attempt to sell the brownstone. We follow Marnie’s often messy journey in Brooklyn: she runs into headaches with Noah’s family (who want the brownstone for themselves) and Noah himself (who shows himself to be a truly unappealing, insincere person). Noah drama aside, she slowly folds herself into Blix’s pretty incredible, animated world, immediately making warm, new friends with Blix’s old neighbors and her closest friends- even beginning a lovely friendship with the secluded downstairs neighbor that Blix had predicted to be Marnie’s perfect match. Dawson keeps a solid pace with novel, enticing the reader from the get-go, deftly working and weaving multiple levels and storylines to both Marnie’s and Blix’s stories. Marnie’s narrative takes full focus about halfway through the novel, and Dawson further shapes and fills Marnie’s story with even more vibrancy, missteps, heartbreak, and hope. Matchmaking for Beginners builds its way to a beautiful climax of endings (and beginnings!) for Marnie and the core cast of characters we come to know and enjoy during our reading. Unabashedly hopeful, cozy, and romantic, showing how terribly messy yet wonderfully fated life can be, Dawson’s latest is a thoroughly enjoyable read that caught my happy attention from beginning to end.
Overall, Matchmaking for Beginners is a warm, unexpected and well-written novel about the possibilities of meaningful, life-changing love, deep friendship, and how richly lives can change for the better with a little (or a lot of!) trust in magic and fate. For readers who enjoy contemporary, romantically-oriented reads with vivid protagonists- and a dash of enchantment- or those who enjoy the work of authors such as Laura Dave, Sophie Kinsella, Sally Thorne, Beth Harbison, or Jasmine Guillory, might especially enjoy this heartening treat of a novel.
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.
Get Your Copy of Matchmaking for Beginners:
The winner will receive 1 (one) copy of Matchmaking for Beginners (HC) by Maddie Dawson! Giveaway details:
- Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
- Giveaway ends on July 13th at 11:59 pm EST
- Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize.
Good luck, everyone!
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this blog tour. All opinions and comments regarding Matchmaking for Beginners are my own. Giveaway fulfilled by Thomas Allen & Son.