Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. Match Me If You Can (2005). 383 Pages. WilliamMorrow. $24.95
Chicago Stars Series | Book Six
When I was on a family vacation, I got Natural Born Charmer, and read (and enjoyed) it. However, it was obvious that there was at least one book before it in the series, and I figured I should read it, so I got Match Me If You Can from the library. Turns out it’s the sixth book, but it’s also very capable of standing alone. There are hints of what you may have missed, but in general, while other characters make cameos, it’s not about them.
Annabelle’s endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.
Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she’d do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.
If Annabelle hadn’t found a body lying under “Sherman,” she wouldn’t have been late for her appointment with the Python. But dirty bare feet stuck out from beneath her nana’s ancient Crown Victoria. One extremely cautious glance under the car revealed that they were attached to a homeless man known only as Mouse, who was famous in her Wicker Park neighborhood for his lack of personal hygiene and fondness for cheap wine.
Annabelle Granger is a charming character who you can’t help liking. She’s determined to make her match-making business “Perfect For You” work, no matter what the cost, and landing Heath Champion might cost her an awful lot. He’s a determined, demanding pig of a client who expects a ton from Annabelle because he’s an agent and he does a ton for his clients. It’s obvious to any seasoned reader what is going on between them, but it takes Heath a very long time to figure it out. (And kudos are due to Annabelle for not being a weak heroine, she sticks to her principles right up to the end.)
I enjoyed the narrative structure, and the basic mechanics of the writing, as well as the plot. I feel like I’m in a literature class when I say that, but there are some authors– now and then– whose stories I like, but whose execution could use some work. Thankfully, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is not one of those authors. I enjoyed the story and the way it was told and the words she chose to tell it.
I suppose there are other books in this series– like the five which come before it– that are probably just as enjoyable, and I may eventually get around to reading those, but for now, I’m content with this. Also, I liked the cover on this one considerably more than I like the covers on some of her other books. It’s got a nice swirly motion thing going on.
When all is said and done, it gets a 4.5 out of 5– it loses a half point for dragging the drama and cluelessness out just a little too long for my taste.