The Perfect Christmas (Mira) by Debbie Macomber came out this month, with Cassie Beaumont trying to figure out just how she'll meet her Mr. Right. When her best friend suggests a matchmaker, Cassie figures it can't hurt to check him out, even if his services are very, very expensive. Dr. Simon Dodson is an expert at figuring out the best matches, but he isn't very good at interpersonal skills himself. But Cassie agrees to his terms when he doesn't reject her out of hand: he assigns her three tasks to do before the upcoming holidays that will let him know for sure if she's the woman for one of his clients. Cassie's first assignment, as the bell-ringer for a charity on Thanksgiving weekend, is interesting, and not always in good ways. The second has her helping Santa as an elf, and that one starts off on a very interesting note. The third is to make a holiday dinner for her neighbors, and she's not on very good terms with any of them. And all along the way, Simon is there to keep an eye on her, as well as offering an unexpected shoulder or conversation. Only when it's nearly too late does Cassie realize she can't let him introduce her to another man when she's fallen in love with the crotchety matchmaker. There's a nice subplot here with Cassie's best friend and a romance of her own. I laughed until I cried when Cassie did elf duty and had a wardrobe mishap in front of the line of children waiting for Santa--and in front of Simon. This one is a mostly sweet, at times hilarious, and really touching story that will get you into a holiday frame of mind, no matter which winter holiday you celebrate. The only thing more I wished for was Simon's point of view. It's earned four of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!