Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Book Review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber
Author: Debbie Macomber
Series: N/A
Audience: Over 18
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: October 3rd 2017
My Rating: 3.5 Cups
Source: Won in a giveaway
Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
*Disclaimer: I won an ARC of this book in a giveaway hosted by the author. I'm writing my review voluntarily, and my opinions and rating are not influenced by having won this book.

I've been meaning for years to try out one of Debbie Macomber's books, so I was very excited when I won an ARC two years ago. I wasn't really sure what the book was about, except that it was set around Christmas, and I love books set around that holiday. There is a good reason for why I held off on reading it for so long after reading the blurb though. One of my favorite movies growing up was You've Got Mail, which is a 90s romcom that I watched many many times over the years. This meant that I had very high expectations for this book, so I had to manage them a bit before picking up this book.

I'm very glad I waited to read this book, because it turned out to be a very enjoyable read, one I probably wouldn't have appreciated had I not managed my expectations.

Merry is overworked and underappreciated. Her situation at home isn't perfect, with her mother and brother being unable to work because of their health problems. So she's the provider in the family and that means she has no time for romance. I liked Merry. She's hardworking, she's sweet, she's strong, and she's very caring and loving. Her need to take care of her family makes her put her own needs way at the bottom of her priority list, so I understood why she wasn't as open to the idea of finding a significant other if that meant taking her focus away from her duties. I am very much like that, so I felt seen while reading this book.

The hero, Jayson Bright, was also quite interesting. He was one of those very strict people that expect order no matter what, and I was highly amused by a scene where he sent out an email that employees can't eat at their desks after seeing Merry eating at her desk. To me that scene sums up Jayson perfectly. He has no idea how to have fun, fun is a foreign word for him. He doesn't believe in love, he's very skeptical about online dating, even after his best friend swears that it can lead to very good results. He had an awful relationship with his dad, who is just an awful person and all in all, his life is work, work, work.

While I like office romances, and stories of online dating also, I felt that this book could have done better. I think my love for You've Got Mail worked against me, because I kept waiting for the magic of that movie to be present in this book. Merry and Bright, however, wasn't as charming as that movie.

All in all, this was a good story for Christmas, and I had really high hopes for it. I did enjoy Debbie Macomber's writing style, so I'll give her other books a try.

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