Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.
This month I’m featuring a sweet, clean Christmas romance from Debbie Macomber. MERRY AND BRIGHT features two lonely souls finding love with a stranger online–who happens to be someone they don’t lie much in real life… I’ve enjoyed several books from this author, including THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON, IF NOT FOR YOU, and ANY DREAM WILL DO but unrelated romance is easily enjoyed as a standalone.
About the book:
Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her–minus her photo–and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.
Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects–or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.
Merry Knight is a temp helping to run the data analysis corps at a consultation company. She’s 24 and lives at home with her parents because her mother has MS, her brother Patrick has Down’s Syndrome, and her father travels to work. Plus, it helps Merry save all her money for college tuition; she’s hoping to return to school in the new year when her contract expires.
The job is grueling, though, and she’s excited to be shot of it. And Merry won’t miss the mini-aggravations, like the mandatory overtime, the misspelled nameplate proclaiming her “Mary Knight” HR wont’ fix, or her petty rule-enforcing boss, Jayson Bright. The man won’t even let them decorate for the holidays, and he’s got the employee manual memorized. Merry can’t wait for some time to herself, but her mom and Patrick have some plans of their own: signing her up for an online matching service–under a pseudonym, and with the picture of the family dog as her avatar. That way only people who are nice and not attracted to Merry’s young face will try to set up dates…Merry’s a bit mortified, but she does make a connection with one user, Jay.
Jayson Bright has been working hard for the past several years at his uncle’s consulting firm. A man his age, 28, doesn’t make VP without a lot of sweat equity, and getting all the necessary data processed for his big report is the lynch pin of all his current work. If that means he needs to be a little forceful with the gals down in data services…well, can’t make a cake without breaking eggs. Still, he’s been lonely and his best pal just announced he’s getting married. To a woman he met on a dating app. Jayson’s checked it out, and doesn’t really find a gal he’s looking for: one who’d like him for himself, not his bank account. But, he’s intrigued by a profile picture of a golden retriever, and he strikes up a conversation.
Soon, “Jay” and Merry are chatting on most evenings, learning all about one another. Jay consoles Merry when she’s frustrated with her boss’s pushiness. Merry helps talk Jay through reconnecting with his father. Their rapport grows until they are ready to meet in person, and that’s when Merry stands Jayson Bright up…because she recognizes him and knows it’s a conflict of interest, plus, she’s sure he’s been playing at being nice online–he’s downright heartless as a boss, in her opinion. Jay’s mad that she stood him up, and that she has met and disliked him in person already. Their online connection was too good to let go, however, and Jay promises to win Merry back. She is unconvinced, but knowing that Mr. Bright is truly her Jay, well, she begins to notice that he’s doing nicer things around the office, and his small acts of kindness begin to accumulate. It’s confusing, but also endearing, and Merry’s willing to give Jay another chance.
For his part, Jayson’s taking more notice of Mary Knight, and how selfless she is. How hard she’s worked for the company. He knew she was a temp, and he’s prompted to make her an offer to stay on full-time. One she refuses to his dismay; he was liking how they worked well together. Okay, so the romance is mostly misconnection, but it’s fun in that semi-awkward way as we know these two don’t want each other, until they really get to know one another. It’s wholly clean, with just a few kisses in the HEA. The big Christmas reveal was fun, and the book is whimsical and enjoyable. I really enjoyed how both Patrick and Merry’s mother were portrayed as real people, not disabilities. They have unique personalities and really help Merry find her way to love.
Interested? You can find MERRY AND BRIGHT on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, Walmart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.
About the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.
Thanks for popping in and don’t forget to pop in and see my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers sharing their fave reads of the month.