Thursday, November 2, 2017

Merry and Bright: A Novel

Author:  Debbie Macomber
Genre:  Romance, Christmas

Hardcover; Large Print Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book, Audiobook
ISBN #:  9780399181221; 9780525493068; 9780525491736
Ballantine Books/Random House Publishing
$13.98; $14.95; $23.97; $10.99 Amazon
272 Pages
October 3, 2017

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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 bosss 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.  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 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.

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Merry Knight  is a young woman who's almost finished working a temp position at a consulting firm.  There's only a few days before Christmas, and she has a deadline at work, along with helping her disabled mother Robin and Down Syndrome brother Patrick decorate for the holidays.  Her father, a pharmaceutical salesman, is away quite a bit, and they've only the one car, she depends on public transportation to get anywhere.  She thinks her boss is mean-spirited and has it in for her, and she's just trying to stay employed until her contract is finished.  Her life is definitely complicated right now.

Jayson Bright, a young executive working for his uncle Matthew at Matt's company, has a potential contract with the Boeing Company, if he can make the deadline.  So he's pushing his employees to get the data finished before Christmas Eve, even if it means working mandatory overtime.  He has no time for nonsense, and believes in following everything by the book.  He's a hard worker and serious about his life.

But Merry's best friend is happily married and now pregnant.  She found her spouse on a dating website called Mix & Mingle, and Robin wants Merry to sign up, but Merry insists she's too busy.  Since her birthday is coming up close - December 26 - Robin and Patrick sign her up as an early birthday gift, and rather than use a photo of her, use one of their Golden Retriever, Bogie.  Merry, while surprised and not too happy about it, decides to see what just might be out there for her...

Jayson, receiving a surprise visit from his cousin and best friend Cooper, is stunned to hear that Cooper is getting married.  Both of them had lousy childhoods with multiple-married parents, and they decided early on that neither one would even start looking for a spouse until they were in their forties.  But it turns out that Cooper, on a fluke, met his soon-to-be wife on Mix & Mingle, and better yet, it's someone from his past.  After Cooper leaves, Jayson, realizing his life is empty, decides to take a look and see what might be just around the corner.  He sees Bogie, fills out an online form, and uses a photo of his own late retriever in return...

Soon Jayson and Merry are communicating without either knowing who the other is.  The more they talk, the more they like about each other.  But will deciding to meet face-to-face change their budding relationship?  Will they be able to survive the knowledge of knowing how they feel about each other?  Will they each decide to go their separate ways or will Christmas light its magic and bring two lonely people together?

Debbie Macomber has a lovely tradition of writing an annual Christmas story that touches your heart and brings warmth to the season.  This one is no different.  We read the story, chapter to chapter, from both Merry and Jayson's points of view.  Each one shows us their lives and the changes they are going through.  We watch their relationship begin warily, and then, as they start to trust each other, change slowly.  But it isn't an easy change.  Anyone who's seen the film The Shop Around the Corner will notice the similarity, but I don't think it matters if you enjoy anything of that nature.

It's a lovely book for the holidays, and I enjoyed reading it.  I have no doubt that everyone who has read it - or is going to - knows that the magic of Christmas will bring a happy ending.  But then again, isn't that what we want to see anyway?  A warm, inviting book that will have you longing for snow and a glowing fire to read by.  Highly recommended.  (To see a hidden spoiler regarding this book, please look for it on Goodreads).

https://www.amazon.com/Merry-Bright-Novel-Debbie-Macomber/dp/0399181229/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2172026964

More on Debbie Macomber's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/debbie-macomber/

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