Matchmaking for Beginners – Book Review

By: Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson is a fun spin on the traditional romance novel. It includes magic, witchery and elements of serendipity. Dawson creates interesting characters that provide enjoyable additions to the story’s main plot.  One of the main characters, Aunt Blix, feels she has a special gift that helps her see and touch people’s emotions.  She believes in some forms of witchcraft, mainly focusing her craft on assisting others in finding love.  She has an unconventional view on life, love and death. 

“…it’s in the broken places where the light gets in.”

Marnie, the other main character in this story, seems completely different from Blix.  Marnie fantasizes about her future life as a wife and mother.  Despite this, when Blix meets Marnie for the first time, she feels instantly connected to her, like they are kindred spirits. These two women meet at Blix’s niece’s home when Marnie is introduced to Blix’s family.  Marnie is engaged to Blix’s grandnephew Noah.   This meeting will shape the final moments of Blix’s life and Marnie’s entire future. 

As the book continues, Marnie’s life takes an unexpected turn leaving her alone and single again.  She eventually tries to pick up the pieces of her life with a new man she thinks she loves.  I could see that this new love interest brought Marnie the comfort she so desperately needed after her heartbreak.  However, it became increasingly apparent that she wasn’t in love with this man, and she was just hoping to find herself back on track with the life she had always dreamed of.  However, in the back of Marnie’s mind she keeps remembering Blix’s inspiring words.   Blix wanted a different life for Marnie, and you can see Marnie struggling to understand which life she truly wants.   Blix, from afar, never stops thinking about Marnie.  Blix tries to influence Marnie to choose bigger and more exciting paths in life. 

“I think she’s kind of enjoying being furious with her ex for now, if you want to know the truth. It’s hard to make room for love when anger still feels so good.”

This story includes love, loss, happiness and humour.  Although Marnie wasn’t the most exciting character, you can’t help but feel connected to her.  Some of the situations she found herself in, especially with Jeremy, were a bit frustrating, but I can understand her desperate need to heal her heart.  Blix brought humour and excitement into this story, and when she passes, I felt like her presence was desperately missed.  I really enjoyed learning about the other characters in Blix’s life.  Her neighbours were all exciting people, and seeing how their lives were affected by love added a layer of intrigue to the story.  I was not fond of the negative connotations implied towards a more conventional life; everyone should choose the path that makes them the happiest.  I can’t say this is my favourite book of all time, but it was definitely a fun read.  I have already purchased Maddie Dawson’s sequel to this book, A Happy Catastrophe.

“My own heart, given away to Noah, now stirs somewhere deep down, stretches, yawns, looks at its watch and rolls over, tries to go back to sleep. But it has one eye open, I notice.”

Have you read any of Maddie Dawson’s work?

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