None of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.
Growing up poorer than poor didn’t leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he’s fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he’s returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter – high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy, and closet matchmaker.
Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen’s schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent’s unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he’s the one, but can he capture Brent’s heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?
(Some spoilers at the end)
I’m just so surprised by this story. Ariel Tachna has proven not only her writing chops but also her immense creativity and ease with angst and danger and drama and emotion in her gripping series Lang Downs and Partnership in Blood. I’d even read her other Dreamspun Desire book so I definitely had an expectation that ran toward the creative and angsty.
This is the exact opposite.
It’s like expecting a Bloody Mary and being served warm tap water instead.
The story, told from Navashen’s POV is more like “a day in the life of” memoir than an exciting or heartfelt romance. Navashen tells us about moving home, finding a new house, furnishing the house, picking out a restaurant, meeting new friends, talking to his family, etcetera, etcetera. Using way more detail than calls for we are walked through his relocation and new home set-up. None of which is terribly exciting or angst ridden.
His character reads fairly “blah” in that he had some “issues” with poverty growing up and some potential issues with his Indian family but those aren’t actually even a thing (much) anymore. They color his decisions but have not made him an interesting character.
Brent is even worse. There is nothing noteworthy about his character at all up until the very end when we learn he was married to a woman whose family didn’t approve of Brent and that ultimately ended their marriage for them.
Brent and Navashen don’t even begin to date until 80% into the story and then at 90% they break up! Only to reunite in the final pages.
I never felt a bit of chemistry between these two and the ease with which Brent walked away speaks loudly for how little the two are invested in one another. I have no idea what Brent sees in Navashen (not that there’s anything wrong with him but we aren’t really shown why the two hit it off.) Also, Navashen seems like he’s interested in Brent only because he’s the better option to being alone.
(End of spoiler)
Navashen’s brother and mother are the only “interesting” characters and they didn’t have enough to them to carry the story.
Listening to this was probably worse than reading it only because in addition to being not very interesting, John Solo made Brent sound like a smarmy used car salesman and he kinda made my skin crawl. I expected some accents with all these unique characters but there weren’t any, so that didn’t help the situation either.
All in all this was very disappointing and I’m sorry to say I just can’t recommend either the book or the audiobook.
2 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review