Desert Isle Keeper
A Match Made for Thanksgiving
Jackie Lau continues to surprise and delight me with her variety of romance novels and novellas, and when I heard she was writing a holiday novella series featuring the Wong family, (aptly named Holidays with the Wongs) I immediately added them to my to-read list. First up is A Match Made for Thanksgiving. It’s rare to find a holiday romance novel with Thanksgiving as the focus and even more so, one that celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving (it’s the first one I’ve found). As a fellow Canadian, that makes it a special treat though you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy it.
Nick Wong grew up in the small town of Mosquito Bay, Ontario but is much happier in his new penthouse apartment in Toronto. Still, going home for Thanksgiving, like any other holiday, is a given, and he’s looking forward to seeing his family, though like any set of siblings and parents, there’s sometimes a bit of friction. The best part of living on his own is being able to do what he wants, see whom he wants, have a one night stand if he wants, and know that everything is on his terms. With his parents and grandparents constantly reminding him that he’s not getting any younger and he should be settling down (i.e providing them with grandbabies), he never quite knows what’s in store for him on his trips home.
Lily Tseng can’t deny that she likes a man in a suit and the handsome man at her elbow in the downtown Toronto bar definitely qualifies. She’s on a quest for a one-night stand, what has up to now seemed an impossible task until yummy Nick helps her out. One night of steamy sex, no last names, no expectations, and she leaves Nick’s bed with a smile on her face. Until her mother calls, and tells her that she’s set her up on a date for Thanksgiving with Greg, an engineer, whose family she’ll be joining for dinner in her former home town.
Nick arrives home for Thanksgiving to discover that his mom and Ah Ma have plotted a little matchmaking, setting up dates for him and his three siblings. His date is Janice, a local pig farmer. And his brother Greg’s date? Lily, Nick’s one night stand, arriving at their family doorstop with a tupperware container of nanaimo bars and a look mirroring his own shock and dismay. Is it fate having a laugh or a handing a second chance to Lily and Nick?
So obviously the set-up for this story is quite funny and the laughs never really stop.
Conversation was not flowing naturally.
This, Nick supposed was what happened when your parents unexpectedly invited dates for all their children. It probably didn’t help that he wanted to rip off his brother’s date’s pink sweater and feed her nanaimo bars.
Nanaimo bars, for those unfamiliar with the Canadian dessert treat, are a three layered bar consisting of a graham wafer, cocoa and coconut crumb crust, a custard flavored butter icing middle and a top layer of smooth chocolate ganache. No word of a lie, after reading this book I had an intense craving for nanaimo bars and had to buy myself some, fortunately stocked at my local grocery store. But I digress.
Despite Nick and Lily being set up with other people, they find time to talk to each other at the Thanksgiving dinner and when they’re caught in a kiss by Ah Ma the gig is up. Clearly Greg and Lily won’t work out as a couple (Greg isn’t particularly upset by the news) and when the family finds out that Lily and Nick already know each other his mom and Ah Ma are equally excited to have made a match even if it wasn’t the one they planned. It seems only fair for Lily to invite Nick to her family Thanksgiving in return, giving the couple an excuse to see each other again. Then it’s time to meet Lily’s equally supportive and interesting family. Her father unfortunately passed away a few years ago, still leaving Lily with echoes of grief that she is able to share with Nick.
The conflict comes in their expectations of what comes next. Lily’s attempt at a one night stand has veered towards relationship territory. She really likes Nick and his family and wouldn’t mind dating him. The sex is great too. Nick though has done a good job steering away from commitment and isn’t sure whether he’s ready to jump into an exclusive relationship. But contemplating life without Lily makes him overcome his fears and take a chance on love.
The overall themes of the story are family, friendship and finding love when you least expect it. It’s a lighthearted read, with plenty of laughs and a delightful sexy romance for two very likable characters. Greg, who lost his date to his brother will get his chance at an HEA in the upcoming A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas (how very trope-y!). It looks to be equally entertaining and I can’t wait to read it!
Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
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