by Melody Murray from the June 15, 2015 issue
Tagline: Matchmaker Ellie was so busy playing cupid for others, she never considered her own love life!
Observations: Okay, maybe I'm hormonal, but this one made me get a little misty.
This was a misunderstanding trope, done very very well.
One of the things that stood out for me was, at the beginning of the story, I wasn't quite sure who the heroine was going to be. Was it going to be the matchmaker herself, or her cousin? I wasn't certain for a really long time. It wasn't until Reggie said, "It's just that I'm already interested in someone else," that I was sure the story was really about Ellie the matchmaker. That was a full halfway into the story that I was kept guessing.
I also thought Ellie's character was terrific. She was so happy and optimistic -- a little crusader for true love. How can you not like someone like that? Here's a line that I identified with:
"Because, really, she's nothing like me. She's prettier and...and shorter. You'd like her." Ellie was quite tall for a woman and had always wished she were more like her cute, petite cousin.
Who among us hasn't wished she were shorter or taller or had better hair or whatever? We all have insecurities and when the author shares the character's insecurities with the reader, it helps us feel closer to that character. And here's an even stronger example of that:
"I'm pretty sure she doesn't see me as someone she wants to date." His dark eyes looked sad.
OMG. That totally reeled me in. I felt so bad for Reggie. From that point on, I'm totally rooting for him, wanting Ellie to see the light and praying that deep down she's interested, but wasn't aware. However, I did still have a niggling
doubt. Reggie was so passive. He was just ready to accept that she wasn't interested, but then the author redeems him when he comes right out and says he's interested in her.
The only thing that bugged me was Reggie holding his hand out to her at the end. That pinged on my Corny Radar a little bit. But I still got a little teary-eyed.
Takeaway: Share your character's insecurities to help the reader identify with them.
Photo note: There were no images for a matchmaker that I could find, but I remember Jane Austen's novel about a matchmaker which was made into a wonderful movie. If you've never seen Emma, with Gwenyth Paltrow, you need to rent it. It's terrific.