“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…”
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Cate Kendall, a high school English teacher living amongst the weird in Austin, Texas is desperately searching for some excitement in her life… Between teaching, playing Scrabble with her colleague/close friend, Ethan Chavez, and living in the garage apartment of her mom’s house, Cate feels her life seriously needs to be rewritten. Cate pines for some adventure, some mystery…for some thrilling subplots to enter her life. When a “magical” journal, a new man, and a new persona infiltrate her life during the very same week, you might say that Cate got exactly what she wished for…
“I was starting to have a bit of trouble trying to keep track of all the little subplots in my own life. It was almost as if I was in the middle of an Austen novel, and while exhausting, it truly couldn’t have been more thrilling.” – page 89 Austensibly Ordinary
With a magical journal that dispenses cryptic messages and a glamorously sexy vintage wardrobe at her disposal (which I am seriously jealous about), Cate is ready don her new alter ego/secret agent persona named Cat Kennedy – a Hitchcock blond/spy out on a mission to find a possible Mr. Darcy and uncover the unknown secrets of her best friend, Ethan Chavez. When her magical journal starts dispensing cryptic messages in the form of romantic advice, Cate makes the assumption that these valuable nuggets of wisdom aren’t for her (of course they aren’t, Cate…) She believes that the romantic advice is for her friends and family, and that it is her mission to play matchmaker with them!
As you might guess by the mention of the word “matchmaker,” this novel pays tribute to Jane Austen’s Emma. I just love Emma, Mr. Knightley, and their friendship turned romance! I loved spotting all the references, parallels, and underlying themes Alyssa Goodnight deftly and cleverly incorporated in her story, such as: Cate’s blindness about Ethan’s feelings for her, word games, secret relationships, and the dangers of playing matchmaker. The only parallel I wasn’t too fond of was the Frank Churchill/Jane Fairfax secret relationship. For me, it just didn’t seem believable and made the Frank Churchill character seem more like a cheating scumbag rather than an irresponsible deceiver.
Just like with Austentatious, Alyssa Goodnight gifts her readers with another incredibly sexy hero. Ethan Chavez makes a wonderful Mr. Knighley *sigh* – mature, honorable, and wise, yet at the same time charming, mysterious, and irresistibly sexy. I can’t decide which hero I love more: Sean MacInnes from Austentatious or Ethan Chavez from Austensibly Ordinary *dreamy sigh* – both men can easily make a girl swoon! All I can say is, Alyssa Goodnight is a master at creating adorable, attractive, and admirable heroes!
With the magical journal back in circulation, it would seem that Fairy Jane/Gypsy Jane is ready and available for her next covert operation/mission, and it is this reader’s sincere wish that she finds her next assignment/romantically-challenged-heroine real soon! Full of magic, delightful charm, and Austenesque flavor – this is one series I am dying to see continued! Please give us more, Kensington Publishing Corp!