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Monday, January 10, 2011

Catch Me a Catch by Sally Clements

Catch Me a Catch by Sally Clements
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (191 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4.5 books
Review by Snapdragon

She had the perfect life - and all she wanted was to escape it. Artisan chocolatier and reluctant matchmaker Annie Devine wants to survive the annual Durna Matchmaking Festival without messing up. She's useless at relationships, and the whole village know it. They've known ever since the day she was left at the altar in her wedding dress. When Jack Miller, charismatic head of Miller Advertising is forced to make an emergency stop on his transatlantic crossing, she mistakes him for a love-lorn bachelor, and sparks fly. Jack's in Ireland to discover his roots, while Annie's desperate to escape hers. Annie longs to win the coveted Chocolate Oscar competition, and claim the ultimate prize, her own shop in Dublin. But with the deadline for Jack's return to New York looming, is she making the right choice?

Immediate, heart-stopping action marks the start of Catch Me a Catch, by Sally Clements. Her fast-paced prose drops us into the center of storm and the struggles of sailor Jack Miller. He's just coincidentally sailing right into an Irish matchmaking festival, although fate has more in store for him than finding an easy match.

Annie Devine has sort of inherited this matchmaking gig, and she's determined to do a good job at it. Jack is plainly a challenge to her. Their initial conversation is hysterical -- partly because we suspect they aren't quite on the same page from the start! Clements shows a remarkably light touch with believable and sometimes cross-purposed dialogue, throughout.

In fact, each of our characters are more complex than they appear. This will be no straightforward, predictable romance. And all sorts of things from their lives keep butting in to complicate matters. Who knew that making the world's best almond praline truffle could pose such a conundrum? Although, certainly more important matters put Annie and Jack at loggerheads, as well. Is it alarming or merely stereotypical that they each reach for booze to cope with emotions? I'm not sure, but it cropped up often enough to be distracting.

Clever and subtle use of words and names (loved the pub named "The Maiden's Arms," Or even just Annie's own: the 'Devine' girl of his dreams, and similar) is fun and interesting, especially at the start. Now and again, action or a challenge seems to be resolved unconvincingly fast, but this indeed is a small complaint. Overall there was a nicely balanced blend of emotion, action and sizzling interaction. Annie's sense of being watched - indeed by the whole quaint community, adds so much to the charming Irish village backdrop.

The be there in-the-moment style of this dramatic narrative will grab your attention and keep it, cover-to-cover.

It's great to see this super story matched with such a perfect cover: Delightful, slightly whimsical, relates to story, and quirky enough to be eye catching. Kudos to the cover designer, too. This one belongs in the must-read pile!