Books & Reviews 📚

Book #79: The Matchmaker

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48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others – like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man – call it meddlesome, but there’s no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance.

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive.

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she’s made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it’s too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you’re running out of time.

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 10, 2014)
Chapters: 3 Parts
Pages: 360

She was not only engaging in awful, illicit behavior, she was hoping that other people would engage in it as well, so that she might feel less guilty.

I haven’t read new material in a while from Elin Hilderbrand and when this book was dropped into my lap, I couldn’t pass it up, but now that I’ve read it, I’ll think harder about reading her future material.

Dabney Kimball Beech has this gift for matchmaking: she sees pink if it’s a good aura; green if it’s bad. Dabney is 48 and she grew up on the island of Nantucket with her family. She is also married to John, an economist – trust me, you wouldn’t have forgotten his career even if you wanted to because the author repeated it numerous times. Dabney has a 26-year-old daughter, Agnes, who is dating Charles Jacob Pippin who is 18-years her senior and Dabney does not see pink (she sees green. Lots of green!) and therefore dislikes CJ for her only daughter.

Although married to the economist, Dabney truly loved one man her entire life: Clendenin – seriously, what kind of name is this? – who is also Agnes’ biological father. Clen left the island to pursue his journalism dreams but returned 26 years later with one arm missing in hot pursuit of the woman he left behind. I hated Clen for boldly walking back into Dabney’s life and demanding that she spends time with him. He didn’t care that she was married.

It gets worse. Nina, Dabney’s best friend encourages her to have a love affair with Clen.

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Dabney is the Queen of Nantucket. She was the center of EVERYONE’S universe (so gag worthy!) and she was revered by many if not all. It was as if, Dabney was singlehandedly running Nantucket (excuse me, but who made her President?) and without her, tourism would have faltered.  I don’t need Dabney to tell me to choose Nantucket as a vacation spot. 

She is pathetic!

When Chen returned, Dabney became a different person. A childish, selfish, dishonest person. She cheated on Box and then tried to defend her actions rather selfishly. Box was the father figure in Dabney’s daughter’s life. He literally raised her! 

I’ve already made up my mind about Dabney being pathetic and selfish because she also cared for material things, so she learned that she had pancreatic cancer and did not have much time left, I couldn’t feel remorse for her. Sometimes I dislike it when an author kills off his/her main protagonist, but in this case, I don’t think anyone would miss Dabney.

It seems as if this author likes indulging and glamorizing adultery. It’s like a recurring theme for her, but when she tried to normalize adultery by putting a positive spin on it, it turned me off. Elin is telling us that it is okay to commit adultery with the only guy we’ve ever give our heart to. I find Dabney fake and annoying for her moral ambiguities. Everyone in this story was either committing adultery or thinking about having an affair.

This book is a big mess and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I am not going to be reading this author again.

VERDICT:

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All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #52: A Summer Affair

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Meet Claire Crispin, best wife to a husband and mother to four kids… or so the residents of Nantucket thinks!

Claire has this friend, Daphne, who got into an accident and was never the same after. Daphne’s husband, Lock Dixon is a wealthy man and he’s fronting the Nantucket’s social event of the year. He asks Claire to be on the gala committee. She does not decline and her husband Jason is not too pleased. Claire finds herself falling for Lock and vice versa on Lock’s end. Then one night they kiss and things got out of hand and one thing led to another during the times they started spending together.

Claire is convinced that she’s in love with Lock.

Claire’s character did not hold my interest, but I found myself wanting her to not get caught in the storm of the affair. I was hoping that she will go back to her husband after learning that she could never have Lock and it predictably happened in the end. Claire was amoral.

Lock Dixon. I did not care anything for him. He did not seem to care/love/appreciate Claire as she did him (I guess the author wanted to glamorize affairs on Claire’s end). He seemed out of sorts. He did not stick up for her on the occasions he should have. Seems to me that the affair was just a one-sided fantasy on Claire’s part. Lock’s wife was unbearable and needy Claire was there for him to take advantage of.

Max West. This former childhood friend of Claire’s – not to mention, ex-boyfriend turned big shot rock star – is a delusional creep. He lives the life of a rock star but in his head, Claire is and will always be his. They shared a special connection and he wanted it back. Oh, the glory of those childhood days!

Siobhan. Claire’s best friend and sister-in-law loves her and resents her at the same time. A caterer married to Carter Crispin, Jason’s brother, she couldn’t get over the fact that Claire’s life was better than hers. That Claire was always the one ahead. The town’s gossip mouth. But she came through for Claire in the end.

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I did not care for any of the characters although I kept turning pages knowing that this a predictable story. However, the story would’ve been a little more interesting had the author wrote about the tools and techniques of glass blowing for not many people know about this art and the main protagonist was a glass blowing artist who had given up the art to raise her children.

And no, there is no full-blown steamy scenes. 

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VERDICT:

2

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Unbeweavable by Katrina Spencer