Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title: Match Me If You Can
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Published: 2005

This is not my usual genre, but I like to read widely and Susan Elizabeth Phillips' name is frequently mentioned as an example of fun contemporary romance. I can definitely see the appeal. Match Me If You Can is light and brisk. Annabelle is a clever woman, and although quirky, she isn't the tripping mess seen in a lot of light women's fiction (and specifically in chick-flicks). What Annabelle lacks in poise, she makes up for in resourcefulness, and she's a genuinely likable character.

Annabelle inheirits her grandmother's Chicago matchmaking business, and instead of continuing with homespun elderly match-ups, she attempts to reinvent the business into high-end executive matchmaking. Her first big client is a sports agent named Heath, who apparently is featured in an earlier book of this series (the "series" features related characters, but not the same character with varying plot line, so it's not necessary to have read earlier books). Heath is a workaholic success-fiend who has only enough time to fit in 20 minute dates with pre-selected women. Annabelle manages to hook him with a knockout first client, who unknown to him, is already married and is only playing part as bait-and-switch to get him to sign on. Heath is so impressed by Annabelle, or at least impressed by her tenacity since he can tell she's a bit of a trainwreck, he insists she accompany him on all initial meetings with new matches. I think you know where this is going...

The story flips point of view between Annabelle, Health and a competitor matchmaker named Portia. That threw me for a loop since a third character POV seemed uneccessasary (I was already surprised we would hear some of the story from Heath). It was almost a guilty pleasure to hear from Heath's perspective, but it rounded out the story in a way that worked.

I had more fun with this book than I expected. Lots of funny moments, and in places where plot could have veered into ridiculous territory, introspective narrative and realistic conversations among characters helped smooth it out. Sure, a few aspects are more book-reality than actual-reality, but that's the fun of reading.

My only real issue is related to the audiobook version. I was not a fan of the voice acting, particularly the male voices, which were acted out by the same female reader. Heath sounded dated, and at least 20 years older than his age of 34. I know 34-year-old guys and not a single one sounds like this. It literally sounded like a 50-something aged guy. While this is the perfect type of book to listen to, I had trouble enjoying the romantic aspects because of Heath's characterization. Annabelle was pretty great, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.